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 Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.
‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

The nearly 80-year-old murals by Maxo Vanka show an immigrant's’ perspective on important issues.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments