Field Notes

Master Class: Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Earlier this week, we shared our recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate [link], and in the process of testing and drinking a few glasses, we decided we loved the flavors so much that we’d apply them to a pie (it is the week before Thanksgiving, after all).

This recipe is built off of a chocolate pie recipe from an old community cookbook we found in Texas. We love it for its ease (it’s a dump-and-stir deal), and consistent results. We kicked it up with the addition of chilies, vanilla and cinnamon, and a cornmeal crust that adds texture while giving a nod to the importance of cornmeal in Mexican cooking.

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The Cayenne Chili Pepper

Name: Cayenne

Flavor Notes: Lemon zest,

Heat Level: Medium to High

All hail the OG chili pepper! Cayenne is one of the oldest known chilies to be consumed by humans, and continues to be incredibly prevalent in our kitchens today. Long, thin and bright red, the chili is most frequently encountered in its dried powdered form, and added to rubs for meat and fish, soups and stews, and anything else that might benefit from a little kick.

Cayenne peppers are closely related to tabasco peppers, made famous by Tabasco Hot Sauce. Tabasco’s biggest hot sauce competitors in the US, Texas Pete and Frank’s Red Hot, both use cayenne peppers as the base of their recipes.

In recent years, cayenne pepper has been embraced by the fitness community for its purported ability to help control appetite and encourage weight loss. Cayenne, like all hot chili peppers contains capsaicin, which causes a chemical reaction that makes the brain release endorphins.

Storing: Keep ground cayenne pepper in a cool dry place; it’ll last indefinitely but begins to lose the sharpness of its flavor after about 4 to 6 months.