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 ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.
Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

The actor, director and Mt. Lebanon native is joining the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Matt Scoletti accomplishes the feat in just under nine hours.
Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

They owe their lives to one man who lives on in each of them.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Omar Abuhejleh taps deep into his roots at his vegan cafe that's focused on Levantine cuisine.
Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

Chefs Sonja Finn and Becca Hegarty helm the refurbished restaurant at the Carnegie Museums.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

We’ve compiled the best pumpkin patches for fall family fun.

Comments


Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

The park's winter celebration is great for families and a fine choice for anyone who loves Christmas (and/or funnel cake).

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

For some reason Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in the latest playoff rankings and Penn State is No. 7. That has to change if Penn State beats Wisconsin on Saturday night.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Locket Full of Joy

Locket Full of Joy

The handcrafted piece opens to hidden treasures.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

PM film critic Sean Collier picks ten forthcoming flicks likely to rake in nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to these couples’ wedding ceremonies.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

The Carnegie Museum of Art is full of Christmas cheer — and great deals. Plus, get the scoop on The Block Northway’s latest retail offering.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

An adapted version of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented during a seven-show run.

Comments