This Mexican chilli chocolate tart is a rich and decadent dessert. If you can’t find ancho chillies, mulato and pasilla chillies are the best substitutes. This is a sweet way to use chillies.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (56 votes)


  • 125 g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 55 g (⅓  cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ground ancho chilli or icing sugar (optional), to dust
  • cinnamon ice-cream (see Note) or double cream, to serve


Ancho and date filling

  • 25 g (about 2) ancho chillies
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 50 g liquid glucose
  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 75 g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 140 g (1 cup) roughly chopped fresh dates
  • 2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds

Chocolate ganache

  • 80 g Mexican chocolate (see Note), chopped
  • 150 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 200 ml thickened cream
  • 80 g cold unsalted butter, chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 50 minutes
Standing time 2 hours 5 minutes

To make pastry, process butter, flour, icing sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and 2 tsp water, and process until the dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, then knead until it comes together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly grease a 24 cm tart pan with removable base and place on a baking tray. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to 4 mm thick, then use to line the pan, trimming the excess. Using a fork, prick base, then refrigerate pastry shell for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Blind-bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and paper, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until pastry is dry and golden. Remove from oven and cool.

To make filling, toast chillies in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 30 seconds each side or until fragrant. Remove chillies from pan and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain and pat dry with paper towel, then remove stems and seeds, and tear flesh into pieces. (To remove seeds easily, place chillies under cold running water.) Using a small food processor or stick blender, process chillies and rum to a purée, then set aside.

Place glucose and 1 tbsp water in a small pan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, gradually add sugar, stirring to dissolve before adding more sugar. Brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals forming. When sugar has dissolved, cook for a further 12 minutes or until golden. Turn off heat, then gradually add butter, whisking to combine. (Take care when adding butter as mixture may rise rapidly.) Stir in chilli purée, dates, almonds and 1 tsp salt until well combined, then pour mixture into pastry case. Set aside in a cool place for 45 minutes or until cool and set.

To make ganache, place both chocolates and the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until smooth, then cool slightly. Gradually and gently stir in butter until combined. Pour chocolate ganache over filling and set aside in a cool place for 2 hours or until firm.

Dust tart with ground ancho chilli or icing sugar and serve with ice-cream or cream.


• We used Serendipity Cinnamon Ice Cream.
• Mexican chocolate, available from Herbie’s Spices, Monterey Mexican Foods, The Essential Ingredient and other specialist food shops, has undissolved sugar in the mixture, which makes it slightly gritty in texture. It also contains cinnamon flavouring and lecithin.



Photography Anson Smart.

As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.