Sunday, April 10, 2011

PIE #18 - Margarita Midori Pie

I just returned from a fun-filled, family-filled and food-filled visit to Colorado. Montana has its good qualities and ethnic cuisine is not one of them. So to make up for my chronic state of Latin and Asian food deprivation, I departed the Treasure State and spent a week in the Centennial State to celebrate my semi-centennial milestone birthday where I feasted on Japanese and Mexican fare. I indulged in sushi and salsa, bento and burritos, tempura and tamales, green tea and green chili. My mother and sisters are extraordinary cooks, so I was in culinary heaven during my stay. Their tasty recipes were accompanied by my brother-in-law's amazing margaritas. Jose Cuervo and Jimmy Buffett take note. Dale's margaritas will blow off your sombreros and send your flip flops flying. I can't divulge Dale's secret recipe here, but I will share the recipe for the pie that was inspired by his margaritas.

This pie whips up quickly and can be made a few days ahead and stored in the freezer. I love the triple combination of the salty pretzel crust, the sweet, tangy filling and the sugared lime slices. If there ever were three amigos that got along famously, this trio would be it. This pie would make a great finale at a Cinco de Mayo fiesta.

Speaking of fiestas, my family threw a big birthday potluck party for me in Colorado. Needless to say, the menu featured my favorite Mexican and Japanese dishes. I contributed the margarita pie for dessert since it was easy, breezy but not quite Japanesey. This is where the Midori comes in for some Asian persuasion. Midori, a vibrant green melon liqueur, can be substituted for the tequila in this recipe. I hope you enjoy the refreshing taste and simple preparation of this pie. It truly is as easy as one, two, three or, shall I say, uno, dos, tres and ichi, ni, san.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup thin salted pretzel sticks, crushed fine
1/2 cup sugar
Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in pretzel crumbs and sugar until well blended. Press firmly over bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Place in freezer until firm.

1/4 cup tequila (can substitute lime juice) or 1/4 cup Midori liqueur
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Fresca carbonated soda
1 tablespoon lime juice
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
Lime slices dusted in granulated sugar for garnish

Combine the tequila and orange juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and set aside.

Combine the eggs, sugar, Fresca, lime juice and lime zest in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in the tequila mixture, whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Scrape into a large bowl, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until the mixture is cool to the touch, stirring occasionally.

When the custard is cool, using a chilled medium bowl and chilled beaters, beat the cream with an electric mixer until it is stiff. Fold about one-third of the whipped cream into the custard with a large rubber spatula. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until the filling is evenly combined. Scrape the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth the top. Cover loosely and place in freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with lime slices dusted in granulated sugar.

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