This combination of chile and chocolate is a match made in heaven (from Now You're Cooking, May 2021). Photograph by Douglas Merriam.

Ancho Chocolate Pudding

Makes approximately 6 five-ounce servings 

We can thank the Maya for coming up with the concept of mixing chocolate with chile. I gussied up this New York Times recipe with ancho chile, which is the ripened and dried version of poblanos. It is more sweet than spicy and enhances the depth of the chocolate flavor. A splash of piñon rum in the whipped cream adds even more home-state essence. 

3 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
15  tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile  
Pinch of kosher salt  
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1  cup heavy cream  
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar  
1 tablespoon Rojo Piñon Rum (from Albuquerque’s Left Turn Distilling), optional  
Raspberries and mint leaves for garnish 

Makes approximately 6 five-ounce servings


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl until blended. In a large bowl, mix sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, ancho chile, and salt, breaking up any lumps. Whisk the milk-and-egg mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth.

  2. Place in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and making sure to scrape the corners and bottom of the pan, until pudding thickens and starts to bubble, 10–12 minutes. Once it bubbles, cook for an additional minute until thick and creamy. If any lumps form, whisk the mixture vigorously for a few seconds to smooth them. Stir in vanilla extract.

  3. Spoon the pudding into serving bowls or glassware and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of each to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

  4. When ready to serve, whisk the cream in a chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar and continue to whisk until firm peaks form. Stir in rum. Top pudding with the whipped cream, raspberries, and mint.