Ancho Chile with Chocolate Mousse and Amarena Cherries

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!

The combination of chile pepper, chocolate, cherries, and almonds worked very well. It is important to accurately remove the ‘ribs’ inside the chile, because that is where the heat is.


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

chocolate mousse

1 jar (300 grams) amarena cherries in syrup

4 Tbsp roasted slivered almonds

240 ml (1 cup) whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar


Prepare vanilla syrup by combining water, sugar, and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bringing this to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute.

Put the chiles in a ziploc bag with the vanilla syrup and use the water displacement method to close the ziploc bag with as little air as possible.

Refrigerate the chiles in the syrup for 24 hours to allow them to soften.

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.

Arrange the chiles on a plate with the open side up so the mousse won’t seep out too much.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours (overnight is best) to allow the chocolate mousse to firm up and to allow the flavors to develop.

Drain the cherries, catching the syrup.

Reduce the syrup a bit over medium heat. Do not thicken it too much, as otherwise it will solidify when it cools off.



Whip the whipping cream with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff and transfer it into a piping bag.

Arrange a layer of whipped cream on 4 plates.

Arrange a stuffed chile on the bed of whipped cream. Garnish with the cherries, thickened cherry syup, almonds, and some more whipped cream on top.

Wine pairing

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.

13 thoughts on “Ancho Chile with Chocolate Mousse and Amarena Cherries

  1. Stefan, I love the use of the cherries with the ancho chiles. Ancho chiles have a dark fruity flavor to them already so the cherries would be a wonderful compliment and the tart cherries would add another dimension altogether. Nicely done. 🙂 What did Kees think about a dried chile dessert?


  2. Chiles, mousse, and amarena cherries. Now that’s a combination you won’t see on many menus. You’ve created quite a dessert and I bet it was wonderful, Stefan. It sure looks like it was.


  3. I wonder how much it would cost to have one of these shipped to Texas? Yum! Have you ever made Chocolate truffles and a bit of chipotle to the chocolate? The smokey chipotle… the bittersweet dark chocolate…. Match made in heaven!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! These are supposed to be shipped FROM Texas, not the other way around 😉 Chocolate truffles with chipotle sounds great! Shanna did just do a post on chocolate truffles, so I guess you guys are ganging up on me to make some 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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