This ice cream requires a bit of prep time, but its incredible flavor is worth the effort. MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART.
• 2 ounces fleshy dried chiles, such as ancho or mulato
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
• 3 whole cloves
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 cup sugar
• 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1. Wearing rubber gloves, stem chiles, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove seeds.
2. Place chiles, vanilla bean, cinnamon and cloves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add creams and scald over low heat. Remove from heat and let mixture steep 2 hours.
3. Strain cream to remove chiles and spices. Remove vanilla bean and reserve it; discard cinnamon and cloves. Place chiles and scalded cream into a blender and puree.
4. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing on the leftover chile puree to remove all of the essence, into a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into the scalded cream. Add sugar and chocolate. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar and chocolate dissolve.
5. Transfer mixture to a stainless bowl. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator overnight or in an ice-water bath.
6. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
This recipe first appeared in The Chile Pepper Book by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger (Interweave Press, 1994).
Click here for the main article, Mole Sauce: The National Dish of Mexico.