Guess whose idea it was to use chile peppers for dessert? Who else but Richard McGary! I found his recipe for Cinnamon Candied Chile Relleno with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce very intriguing, and knew I had to try something similar. I thought it was very appropriate to use the ancho chiles that Richard had sent me to prepare this very unusual but very tasty dessert. The base of the dessert is a chile pepper stuffed with chocolate mousse. Richard soaks the chiles in cinnamon syrup and serves them with pecans and red wine chocolate sauce. I made my own version with an Italian twist by pairing the chocolate stuffed chile with tart amarena cherries and almonds. It was really good, and definitely something I’ll make again. Thanks Richard!
For 4 servings
4 dried ancho chiles (Richard says: “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.”)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
300 grams (1 1/2 cup) sugar
300 ml (1 1/4 cup) water
240 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
Take the chiles out of the ziploc bag (discard the syrup), pat them dry with paper towels, make an incision and carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Leave the stems on. (You can also do this step before soaking the chiles, but this way the chiles are more supple and thus less likely to break.)
Stuff the chiles with the chocolate mousse (this is easiest when the mousse has just been prepared and is still fluid rather than firm). A piping bag is useful tool for this, but a simple spoon should also do the trick.
Whip the whipping cream with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff and transfer it into a piping bag.
This is great with recioto della valpolicella, because that red dessert wine from the Veneto region (the sweet sister of the amarone) pairs well with the chocolate as well as the cherries.