Before you look away because you don’t like spicy food, just hold on a minute. Whether you like mild spice or red hot, blow your brains out kind of spice you can make this work.
I adore spicy food. When you live in Thailand long enough you don’t have a choice. I think my tongue may be immune to any spice level below, say, a seven. That only happened after many months of having the appearance of an emotionally distraught lunatic in restaurants as I choked down chili after chili trying to make myself adjust. I saw it as an endurance challenge, and since any challenge is my kind of challenge, I won. Booyah.
In this recipe, I used ground dried Thai chili that I had on hand. If you want something mild, use the chili powder you’d put in chili when you make it at home. If you want something more intense, maybe use mace or something along those lines. It all depends on what your taste buds like. Keep in mind when you toast them that the flavor intensifies so, don’t go gung-ho on a spice and then gift yourself an ulcer later on down the road.
I like the idea of just chocolate and chili, but cardamom is such a warm flavor that it can really bring something to the table in the right setting. Here, it sort of offsets the pang from the chili and mellows you out. Instead of feeling spice, you just feel a tingly warmth of happiness. A lot like when you’re cold and you put on a pair of slipper socks to make everything right again.
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
1 t. chili powder (whatever variety you choose)
1/4 t. cardamom
3 egg whites, room temperature
- In a small saucepan, toast your spices on a low heat for 4-5 minutes until they become fragrant.
- In the same saucepan, add 1/4 c. of the cream to the spices. Cook on medium heat until you see small bubbles form around the edges.
- Fill a new saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place a glass bowl that fits over the pan without touching the water with the cream mixture and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is uniform. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks (about 3 minutes)
- Clean your bowl and whisk and whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks.
- Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then add the rest.
- Finally, gently fold in the egg white mixture just until there are no more clumps or streaks.
- Pipe the mixture into your dishes and refrigerate until firm.