Despite its taste, its appearance, and its name—pink peppercorn is not related to black peppercorn. The taste, though peppery, is more rounded than the assertive black peppercorn; it has delicate fruity notes that can be almost sweet. Additionally its heat is more like the heat of a chile pepper and less like the heat of peppercorn. Pink peppercorn also has a papery outer shell; it is dry and fragile and easily rubs off. This and the spices' naturally high moisture content makes it a poor choice for the spice mills so ubiquitous in grinding black peppercorn. Crushing it before use is a more suitable choice.
It can, however, be used as a substitute for black pepper—most effectively when pepper is being used in an exotic or showy way, as in in sweets like chocolate. Pink peppercorn can also give crunch, bite, and visual texture to salads.
Please note: Pink peppercorns (Schinus terebinthifolia) are a species known to be in the same family as cashews. While these two are related, there has yet to be any conclusive medical or scientific research surrounding their effect on those with cashew or pistachio allergies. With that in mind, we do recommend that those with these allergies exercise caution when handling pink peppercorns.