The Big Chile

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with the delightful, hot and cold flavors of Mexican chocolate ice cream.



My earliest exposure to Mexican culture was a television series in the 1950s called “The Cisco Kid.” Cisco, played by Duncan Rinaldo, wore elaborate costumes with silver trim and a huge sombrero. Pancho, his loyal sidekick played by Leo Carillo, was the requisite comic foil.

But I assumed this was the yin and yang of Mexican personalities, Chris Fennimoreand since they were the “good guys,” even these stereotypes created a positive image for me of what Mexican people must be like.

So it’s not surprising that I was anxious to sample the exotic foods from South of the Border that I encountered at the New York World’s Fair back in 1964. One bite, and I was hooked. All of the flavors were completely new to my palate—cumin and chili powder, cinnamon and chocolate, cilantro and lime. It was like discovering an entirely new palette of colors.

As I began to cook for myself, the challenge was to find authentic ingredients to replicate even the simplest of Mexican dishes. But now, there are usually sections in most grocery stores that stock the basic spices, sauces, beans and condiments that form the basis of the cuisine.

Here in Pittsburgh, we’re fortunate to have Reyna’s on Penn Avenue in the Strip District. There you not only can purchase freshly made flour and corn tortillas but also a wide assortment of spices and Mexican groceries, including some fresh chiles and cheeses.

For this chocolate ice-cream recipe—and for lots of other luscious Mexican drinks and desserts—you can find the Ibarra-brand chocolate disks. And you can even get an ornate sombrero! “Oh, Cisco!” “Oh, Pancho!”

See Chris Fennimore's web-exclusive guacamole recipe following the recipe for chocolate ice cream.


 Photography by Laura  Petrilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 ounces Mexican chocolate (Ibarra), coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered chipotle

Heat the half-and-half in a saucepan along with the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and chocolate. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, salt and chipotle powder in another bowl until light yellow and frothy.

While continuing to beat the eggs, strain the hot mixture into the bowl slowly. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the custard reaches 175 degrees.

Remove from the heat, cover and let come to room temperature. You can speed this up by putting the pan in an ice bath. Refrigerate overnight and then process in your ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

You can serve the ice cream soft as it comes from the ice-cream maker or transfer it to an airtight container and let it harden in the freezer.

  


GUACAMOLE

3 Avacados, seeded and peeled
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 red onion, diced
1 fresh Serrano pepper
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Put the peeled avocado in a large bowl with the lime juice and stir to coat well. Add the salt and cumin and use a fork or potato masher to roughly puree the avocado. Remove the stem and seeds from the Serrano pepper and dice very fine. Use rubber gloves when handling the pepper or be sure to carefully wash your hands afterwards to avoid burns. Stir the diced pepper into the avocado mixture along with the diced onion and tomatoes, cilantro and garlic. If you are not going to serve immediately, cover with plastic wrap and push the plastic directly on top of the guacamole to prevent it from discoloring.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Evegeni Malkin is priceless at the end.
This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

Some cool things to watch out for this weekend in the ’Burgh.
#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

Once in a while, no good deed goes unpunished.
Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company has installed the new cameras, which provide sharper images of the Hays eagles.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

The Penguin winger fits in easily with the team, thanks to his infectious personality and his mad dedication to confounding opposing goaltenders.
Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

This three-story home melds all of the comforts of home with the sleek look and efficiency of industrial design.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags