And now for something completely different…a dessert chile relleno. 😮 Yep, this thing of beauty is a Cinnamon Candied Ancho Chile Stuffed with Baby Lady’s Deliciously Simple and Healthy Chocolate Mouse floating on a cloud of Chantilly topped with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce and Candied Pecans. Now, I know some of you are going “You did what to dessert?” While others of you are going “Richard, you’ve lost your mind!” Still, some of you are intrigued. Regardless of the category into which you fall, this is a fabulous dessert and you should read on…
If you have been reading our blog for any length of time, you realize we play with peppers and chiles. We do other things, as well, but we’re known for our use of chiles. We also love, love, love chile rellenos. We have recipes for appetizer chile rellenos, as well as entree chile rellenos. Missing from our chile relleno repertoire was a dessert chile relleno. 😮 That was because 1) neither of us had ever had a dessert chile relleno; and 2) neither of us had never thought about creating a dessert chile relleno. I also have no reason why I never thought about making a dessert chile relleno before because I make a wonderful chocolate cake with ancho chile powder as one of the ingredients. You see, red chiles, particularly ancho chiles, go very well with chocolate – think of traditional mole sauce. It makes no difference if it is a savory dish or a sweet dessert, red chiles and chocolate are simply a match made in heaven. I have always known this but until I read Los Chiles Rellenos en Mexico Antologia de Recetas (Stuffed Chiles of Mexico, an Anthology of Recipes) by renowned Mexico City Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita I never, ever thought of preparing a dessert chile relleno. Once I read the book, however, I couldn’t get the concept out of my head. Now, Chef Zurita used a green poblano pepper for his dessert and stuffed it with coconut. The recipe sounds divine and someday I will make it but I wanted something different. I also remembered the fabulous pairing of chocolate and ancho chiles and I knew I could make an ancho chile relleno dessert. So, after about a month of thought and discussing the concept with Baby Lady on multiple occasions, this is what we came up with. It is stunning. It is flavorful beyond anything you can imagine with the fruity flavor of the ancho chile coupled with the cinnamon coupled with the chocolate mousse. It is tender, light and fluffy, cool and refreshing. The candied pecans add a nice little textural crunch along with their roasted nuttiness. It is rich and filling without being heavy and has layers upon layers of flavor and incredible character. It also is not difficult, is prepared ahead of time and is guaranteed to be the talk of your dining guests among their friends for quite sometime afterwards.
Now, have I caught your attention and filled you with intrigue? Are you brave enough to try this? If so, this is what we did.
For the Relleno
- 4 primera ancho chiles*
- 1 lb. sugar
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks, roughly 2 inches each
- 2 cups Baby Lady’s Deliciously Simple and Healthy Chocolate Mouse or your favorite chocolate mousse
- candied pecans, chopped, for garnish
For the Red Wine Chocolate Sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
For the Relleno
Add sugar to a saucepan.
Now add the water
and cinnamon sticks
Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
While the simple syrup is cooling, cut a 2 inch slice along the side of the ancho chiles.
Without tearing the chiles, carefully seed the chiles and remove the ribs but make sure to keep the stem.
Put chiles in a plastic bag and pour cinnamon simple syrup over chiles in bag and seal.
Refrigerate 24 hours to allow the chiles to rehydrate and absorb the cinnamon simple syrup into the flesh and also remove some of the piquantness of the chile. After 24 hours, remove the chiles from the simple syrup. Notice how the water has turned reddish from the chiles?
Set on a rack and allow the chiles to drain and dry somewhat.
Fill the chiles with chocolate mousse.
When filled, close the relleno to seal and allow the mousse to set up. We placed the filled chiles in small oval ramekins to hold their form but a sheet pan will also work. We had over filled them and wanted to ensure their shape. 😮
Cover the relleno with plastic film and refrigerate overnight to allow the mousse to set up and the flavors to develop. Also, if you fail to cover the relleno, it will dry out and become tough. Remember, you are dealing with a rehydrated dry chile.
For the Red Wine Sauce
After the mousse has set up and the flavors have blended, make the red wine chocolate sauce.
Add the sugar and red wine to a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to concentrate the wine flavor. Remove from heat. Working in small batches (1/2 cup), temper the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second bursts until the chocolate chips are soft and melted. Add the chocolate to the red wine-sugar mixture and whisk to incorporate.
Allow to cool.
Place a generous mound of whipped cream in the middle of the plate.
Gently, place a stuffed chile atop the whipped cream.
Add another small dollop of whipped cream on top of the chile and drizzle the red wine chocolate sauce over the top.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
Darn! I forgot the pecans in this photo shoot. So, shamelessly, we had to eat another. 😮
We think the white serving plate was the better backdrop for the relleno. Enjoy!
NOTES: * As pointed out in the prior post on Ancho Chile Cheese Relleno in Cilantro Crema Caldillo the selection of chiles is critical. They are the centerpiece of any relleno dish so you must choose the very best and freshest you can find. You must find ancho chiles that are pliable, untorn, 2 to 2-1/2 inches at the shoulders, and 4 – 5 inches long. They should have a deep, dark brownish red, almost black, color and aromatic with a aroma a bit like prunes. Do not attempt to make this recipe with dry, brittle chiles. It simply won’t work.