This Key Lime Hatch Chile Gelato recipe is ultra-rich and creamy with the tangy flavor of key lime cheesecake and a zesty punch of smoky Hatch Chiles.
What IS a Hatch Chile?
Hatch Chiles aren't a species of pepper so much as they are a pepper that's grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico.
There's something about the soil and growing conditions that gives these peppers a unique flavor that aficionados just can't get enough of. There are mild Hatch Chiles and hot Hatch Chiles but you'll have to taste them to tell the difference.
They look alike to me.
Like most chile peppers the Hatch Chiles are long and thin with a meaty flesh. Even the hot version of the pepper is quite mild comparatively speaking.
And, yes, you can use them without roasting but the process of roasting gives them a smoky, rich flavor that really sets your dishes apart.
Tips for Using Hatch Chiles
Here are a few tips for choosing and using your chiles:
- Look for a bright, green color.
- Chiles turn red as they ripen. This makes them just a bit spicier.
- They should feel heavy for the size.
- Choose chiles that have a firm, shiny skin with no bruises.
- You can use them raw or roasted. Roasting them smooths down the heat a little and gives them a richer flavor. Using them raw is best for dishes like scrambled eggs where you're going to saute them.
- If you can't find Hatch Chiles Anaheim Peppers are a good substitute.
How to Roast Hatch Chiles
If you're doing a lot at a time I'd suggest using the outside grill because the smoke contains the oils from the chiles and a lot of it concentrated in a small, enclosed kitchen can cause breathing problems and make your eyes burn.
- Oven: Put the oven rack 4 to 6 inches below the heating element of your broiler and preheat to high. Roast the chiles on a heavy baking sheet, turning as needed.
- Outside grill: Heat up your gas grill. Add the chiles directly to the grill and turn them as needed. Watch them carefully!
- Gas or electric burner: Cover the burner with a wire mesh and roast chiles on top of it. Watch carefully and turn them as they blacken.
- My favorite way to roast a few Hatch Chiles at a time is with a plumber's torch.
How to Store Chiles
Once the chiles are roasted you'll put them immediately into plastic bags and seal the bag so that the chile can "sweat". When they've cooled down you only have to rub the skin gently and all the black part with flake off leaving a perfectly roasted chile. Put them in recipe sized freezer containers and freeze them until you need them for your recipes.
I honestly keep my fresh chiles on the counter in a bowl. They'll last a few days and I always use them up. Putting them in the refrigerator will likely make them last longer -- but then I forget about them!
Hatch Chile Gelato Recipe
Unbelievably rich and creamy, this Hatch Chile gelato is a combination of tangy key lime pie cheesecake and spicy chiles in every luxuriously decadent bite.
Hatch Chile GelatoPrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- 5 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces cream cheese, , room temperature
- 3 tablespoons key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- ¼ cup roasted Hatch Chiles, , chopped - divided use
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- Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon colored.
- Set aside.
- Heat the milk, cream, and cream cheese to a simmer, whisking until smooth.
- With the mixer running slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs.
- Beat until well blended.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the pan and simmer until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat.
- Blend 2 tablespoons of the hatch chiles to a paste.
- Whisk into the milk mixture with the lime juice and lime zest.
- Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
- Add the cold mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Add the remaining chopped Hatch Chiles to the mixture when it's solid but still soft - about halfway through.
- Store, tightly covered in the freezer.
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