BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

41 Comments

…Then don’t cook with chipotles. Spice is one thing; those distinctive flavors and gentle warmth make cooking come to life, adding a spark that simply cannot be replaced. Chilies, however, are on a whole different playing field, and the threat of their taste bud-obliterating burn has kept me far away for as long as I’ve been cooking. Pick just one wrong, innocent-looking little capsicum, and you’ll pay dearly for hours to come. My reluctance was only reinforced when a venture in chili making went awry after using a whole can of chipotles in adobo sauce in a batch meant to feed six… To call it inedible would be kind.

And yet, for ages it seems, one lone can of those very chipotles remained in the pantry, quietly waiting to be released from their aluminum prison and start some fires. After studiously avoiding them for perhaps a year or so, curiosity (and frugality; as if they would ever go to waste!) got the best of me. Armed with a can opener and a plenty of vanilla ice cream to extinguish the burn, it was time to push the limits and see how these hot peppers behaved… In dessert.

Maybe I’ve spent a few too many late nights watching Alton Brown, but suddenly, the sound of chipotle mashed sweet potatoes became too attractive to put out of mind without a second thought. Presenting such a dish to my straight-up, butter- and cream- mashed potato family would be flat out heresy, so a different approach with clearly needed. Dialing back on the chipotles so that they provided just the slightest tingle on the tongue, a gentle after burn, if you will, their intensity is further tempered by the soothing contrast of brown sugar and rich coconut milk. Better yet, a thin base of dark chocolate adds depth to the dessert, and adds appeal for those who aren’t big on pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Yes, this one is different indeed- Just try a bite for yourself!

Sure, it may not look like a traditional pie, but with filling this good, I wanted to really pile it on, and a standard pie pan simply couldn’t accommodate my ideal proportions. And of course, spice is a matter of preference, so if you’re a real chili-head, go ahead and pack it in, but beware; The difference between 1/2 of and 1 whole chipotle is astounding.

Chocolate Chipotle Sweet Potato Pie

Chocolate Crust:

1 Cup Chocolate Wafer Cookie Crumbs
3/4 Cup Almond Meal
2 Tablespoons Natural Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
5 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine or Coconut Oil, Melted

1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Chipotle Sweet Potato Filling:

2 Cups Roasted Sweet Potato Puree*
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 – 1 Small Chipotle, Canned in Adobo Sauce
1 Teaspoon Adobo Sauce
Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Coconut Whipped Creme
Chocolate Shavings or Curls

*To get roasted sweet potato puree, crank up your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and roughly dice two medium – large sweet potatoes, and toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle very lightly with coarse sea salt, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the pieces are fork-tender and lightly browned around the edges. Let cool, and puree to a completely smooth consistency in your food processor or blender. Alternately, you could use canned sweet potato or even pumpkin puree.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9-inch round springform pan.

Beginning with the crust, combine the cookie crumbs, almond meal, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the melted margarine or coconut oil, and mix thoroughly, until all of the crumbs are moistened and will stick together when pressed. Transfer this mixture into your prepared pan, and use lightly moistened hands or the flat bottom of a measuring cup to smooth it out, pressing it evenly into the base of the pan. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until it no longer appears shiny on top. Immediately after removing the crust from the oven, sprinkle it evenly with your chocolate chips, and let them sit for a moment to soften and become melted. Use a spatula to smooth them out over the crust, to form a fairly consistent layer. Set aside.

Moving on to the filling, simply place all of the ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of chipotle) in your food processor or blender, and pulse to combine. Pause and scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed, to make sure that everything is getting incorporated, until the filling mixture is completely smooth and homogeneous. Taste for seasoning, and add in more chipotle (or even adobo sauce, if that’s not enough for you) as desired. The heat does tone down a bit after being baked, but not too much, so go easy on those spicy little peppers! Once you’re satisfied with the level of spice, pour the sweet potato mix on top of your prepared crust, and smooth out the top.

Tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles before sliding it into the oven. Bake for 20 – 28 minutes, until the edges are set but the center still looks wobbly, much like a cheesecake. Let cool completely before moving the pie into the fridge to cool. Only after it is thoroughly chilled can you top it with the coconut whipped creme and chocolate shavings. Release the ring from the springform pan and and serve! And yes, if you added just a touch too much chipolte, a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream does help tame the flame.

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

41 thoughts on “If You Can’t Take the Heat…

  1. Amazing recipe, as usual! I love chipotles. Most Germans don’t even know they exist. Al the US food blogs I read have enlightened me and I am so happy I discovered chipotles this way.

  2. Oh waouw, amazing recipe yes !
    After Paris Vegan Day, I’ll do your recipe.

  3. This looks scrumptious even though I’m a little leery of the chipotle heat! But I’ll take your word for it and give it a go….maybe just 1/4 chipotle to start?

  4. This is such a creative (and I’m sure delicious!) spin on a traditional sweet potato pie! Awesome recipe, Hannah :)

  5. I am so glad I found your blog. I can’t wait to try this recipes.

  6. this sounds cool! I LOVE chipotle peppers. I think they should be president. I like the idea of a little chipotle with sweet potatoes… yumz!

  7. Love it! Gorgeous AND clever ;)

  8. Wow – what an incredibly creative recipe! And it sounds amazing to boot! A+ :)

  9. You are absolutely crazy and that is absolutely why I adore you! I would never think to put chilies in a sweet potato pie…but it really is quite genius.

  10. Fabulous! And I bet it warms you right up too.
    xo
    Eco Mama

  11. Ooooh I like it Hannah! It’s like adding a kick to chocolate, just a bit of heat. It looks pretty too!

  12. oh my gosh Hannah, I love you! I mean it, I really do. You just took my favorite pie and raised it to new heights. Awesome!!

  13. What a lovely recipe and yummy looking pie! I am not sure I would easily find chipotle here but I guess I could use othe chilies instead,should I make this pie.

  14. I love the heat :). Sounds like a tasty, unique pie and what perfect slicing!

  15. Wow Hannah…only you could come with such a recipe…so creative :-) I’d love to have a spoonful of this pie. And as always, love the picture :-)

  16. Another ground breaking creation! I would welcome this pie any day.

  17. Chipotle marries so well with chocolate–why not sweet potato? The pie is gorgeous and I love the multi layers! I might just have to try this filling in a GF crust, Thanksgiving or not. :)

  18. beautiful looking pie! the flavor combinations sound very interesting, but yet so yummy :D

  19. Oh, Hannah, you’ve outdone yourself! I would marry chili if I could (I often add tabasco to my peanut butter cookies or chili flakes to chocolate oatmeal), so this looks beyond amazing. Sadly I haven’t yet been able to find chipotles in Australia, but when I go to Melbourne in a fortnight I intend to check out their gourmet delis for it :)

  20. Wow, this is NOT what I expected, but sounds fantastic, nonetheless!

  21. Fantastic!! Love the idea of putting chipotles in a dessert. Though I usually can not take HEAT very well but my BF on the other hand can, and I feel would enjoy a little ‘hot’ dessert ;) Thanks!!

    ~Lori

  22. Sounds like an amazing flavor combination!

  23. LOVE IT!!!!

  24. Ooh this pie sounds amazing, especially that coconut whipped cream on top. I can never resist a creamy topping. The chipotle sounds like a great variation on the classic!

  25. sweet – hot is the latest thing, isn’t it? I love the combo.
    I just made chocolate chile lava cakes. Wonderful sensation!
    Now, I’ve got another mission: Chocolate Chipotle Sweet Potato Pie. Thanks! :)

  26. What a great looking recipe! I can handle spicy, but my family doesn’t really like it. I never thought of adding chipotle to a dessert. Sounds yummy!

  27. Beautiful and amazing cake !
    I love it, and want to try it :)

  28. My husband would love this! He gobbles up spicy foods. I will add this to my list of recipes to try out.

  29. what a great blog! here is so many inspirations!

    have a nice time,
    Paula

  30. What a nice creation! it looks amazing!

  31. Awesome! I just LOVE those flavors. I have made some killer chocolate/chipotle desserts… and some great sweet potato/chipotle combos, but haven’t combined the three! LOVELOVELOVE.

  32. I have a hard time believing I’d like chipotle in desserts (not because of the heat, which I love, but because of the smoke ;)), but this pie looks SO beautiful I think I may have to dare myself to try it. :-)

  33. Reminds me of a habenero pumpkin ice cream I saw once, which inspired me to put a dash of chili powder in my pumpkin muffins, and an addiction was born. I’d imagine that sweet potato goodies are the same way – once you add that spice, you can’t go back to plain old ones again :)

  34. Woooo, with the surprise of chipotles, huh? That’s one pie to add some real fireworks to the holidays. It’s gorgeous, too.

  35. This is a gorgeous pie. Like the presentation.

  36. hey
    I made a pumpkin cake inspired by this
    check it out here:

    http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=6739

    i went for the pumpkin pie spice mix and not for the Chipotle and peper

  37. I made this as dessert to a soul-food themed dinner party. O. M. G. Seriously, stupidly, ridiculously good. Bravo!

  38. I’ve made this recipe twice now, it’s amazing. However, I’m having a hard time getting the whipped cream to not be liquidy. The first time around it solidified, but only after chilling for a while, not during the actual whipping process with the blender. The second time around the whipped cream isn’t solidifying for me hardly at all. Any tips?

    • It’s hard to say what’s going wrong here, but my best bet is that it’s simply the brand/composition of the coconut milk. Some are a bit thinner, grainier, and/or less flavorful than others, simply due to the sourcing and processing of the coconuts. I would try using a different brand of coconut milk next time, and see if that doesn’t make a difference. I hope that helps, and I’m sorry I can’t offer you a better answer to fix your current coconut whipped creme.

  39. I love sweets with a kick, and I can’t wait to try this.

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