For all you Nutella lovers out there, here’s something with a little afterglow and far more interesting to try. Chili Chocolate Pate. An easy, elegant dessert to serve as part of your balanced "diet platter" of fresh fruit slices and berries.
The recipe is an adaptation of my all-time favorite Valentine's Day cookbook, The Joy of Chocolate by Judith Olney. For best results, use the highest quality (and costliest) chocolate you have the gumption to buy. For the following recipe I indulged in a combination of Callebaut semisweet baking chocolate, Taza Stone Ground Chocolate Mexicano with Guajillo Chili and Cacao di Pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder (requiring a detour at Williams-Sonoma.)
This the the kind of dessert that can be whipped up last-minute, leaving your kitchen redolent of chocolate for hours. The prep is mindlessly simple. So melt, stir, chop, mix and enjoy. —Vivian Henoch
Mexican chocolate (with chipotle or guajillo chili)
1 1/3 cups
unsweetened cocoa powder
ground expresso beans
1 or 2 teaspoons
chipotle or cayenne pepper (to taste)
Melt the chocolates in a small sauce pan over hot water.
Heat the cream in a saucepan until nearly scalded (just about to boil). Add melted chocolate, butter, expresso beans, cinnamon (and red pepper to taste) and stir briskly until the mixture cools.
Stir in the vanilla extract, nuts and liqueur
Spoon the mixture into a small pate or cheese crock and cover with plastic wrap. If the pate is to be served within 2 to 3 hours leave a room temperature. To serve after refrigerating add a bit of warm cream to soften the chocolate again to a smooth consistency.