If you like your pie hot, an Albuquerque bakery that ships FedEx has got it down cold.

The heat comes from the kick of chili pepper flavor in Senor Pie's fruit pies: green chili apple, habanero peach and chipotle cherry royale among them.

Such desserts were the brainchild of New Mexico residents "Senor" Scot and "Senora" Ann Robinson, who opened the Senor Pie bakery two years ago. Now, principal owner Greg Lujan and his small staff are baking 400 to 500 pies a week along with their regular fruit pies, cream pies and cookies.

"We always make sure you taste the fruit before you taste the heat," says Lujan, whose pride is obvious as he explains the way the zingy pies are put together. "We make our own doughs and hand-pinch the crust. We use famous Hatch chili [peppers] from New Mexico and local products as much as possible. When I make the filling, I wait until after it has cooled and mix the heat to order." This allows Lujan to customize the amount of heat, pie by pie.

He's right about the afterburner effect. We tried three kinds: green chili apple was the mildest, rated by Lujan as a "2" on his own 10-point heat scale. He gives the chipotle (smoked jalapeno that is ground into powder) cherry a "5," with the habanero peach delivering the biggest kick. We concur.

Lujan also has devised an admirable way to ensure that the pies sent across the country arrive with satisfaction. He embeds a small plastic tripod (normally used for delivery pizzas) into the top of a freshly baked pie that is frozen overnight. Then the pie is sealed in plastic wrap and seated in and between 1-inch slabs of specially fitted soft foam and boxed in a pizza-style box.

Custom-order pies to be shipped via two-day FedEx to the Washington area can be ordered through Friday for delivery before Thanksgiving. A single 12-inch pie (10 to 12 servings, $18.95) costs about $42, including packing and shipping charges. Pies shipped overnight, for an additional fee, can be ordered for the holiday until Nov. 22. Senor Pie, 6431 Gibson Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87108. Call 800-873-5589.

-- Bonnie S. Benwick

Senor Pie's peach habanero (top) and chipotle cherry pie.