nothing brightens your mood like a sunny day in the middle of winter. a tart citrus pie is just what you need to bring a little of that sunshine to your palate and chase the doldrums away. a little tequila wouldn't hurt either... i found myself with a bag of limes that had been forgotten in the fridge. a quick trip to the corner liquor store and i had a small bottle of silver tequila to go with the triple sec lurking in the cupboard. after pondering the plan for a day, i decided to make this a no bake pie; the filling is a mousse.
first i made a lime curd base with a little added lemon juice. it seems that limes are more bitter than sour and i wanted this to be a little on the tart side. i did a little research and discovered an article on art of drink all about margaritas and what the taste balance of one should be, it was very informative and it can be found here. as i let the base cool, i got to work on the crust.
for a margarita to be balanced in flavor, it must have some salt. what better to bring salt to a pie than a bag of pretzels? we live on pretzels here and there is always at least one bag in the closet. for this recipe, i chose the classic thin twists simply because they had the most salt on them. after grinding them, mixing them with sugar and melted butter, i pressed the mixture into a glass pie plate and moved on to the mousse.
for mousse to be mousse, it requires adding whipped ingredients-whipped cream and egg whites. since i was using my hand mixer, i whipped the whites first and then the cream so i would not have to wash the beaters. yes folks, i can say it, i'm a lazy baker...the whites were whipped with sugar to them to keep them from becoming sudsy and dry which will also make folding them in a little easier. be sure you do not whip them as stiff as they will go-let them droop a little like in the photo. the cream needs to be whipped until stiff but not so stiff that it is almost butter-you want that to be a little soft too or it could break during the folding process. since there is gelatin involved, pour the mousse into the pie shell and let it set in the fridge for a few hours or it will be too loose to cut into pretty slices. garnish with additional whipped cream and pretzels if you wish.
lime margarita mousse pie with pretzel crust-serves 8-10
zest of one lime
4 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice-about 6-8 persian limes (regular green ones)
2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice-about 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks (use large eggs and save the whites)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces tequila, preferably silver (clear, colorless)
1 ounce triple sec or curacao
1 package gelatin
3 cups pretzel twists
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
zest the lime, set this aside. juice the limes and lemons. measure the juice and place it in a non reactive sauce pot with the 1/2 cup sugar; set it over medium heat. stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. pour the tequila and triple sec into a microwavable cup and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften it. in a heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch until no lumps remain. when the juice comes to a slow boil, pour it into the egg yolks while whisking them. pour this mixture back into the sauce pot and over medium low heat, return to a slow boil while whisking continuously. allow to boil gently for 1 minute and immediately pour through a strainer into a heat proof bowl (use a clean one, never mix raw and cooked eggs!). stir in the zest. heat the gelatin in the microwave on low or defrost for about 20 seconds to liquefy it. pour the gelatin into the lime curd and whisk until smooth. press plastic wrap over the surface and leave it at room temperature to cool. it should be cool to the touch with no trace of heat-this also prevents the gelatin from setting hard at this point.
to make the pretzel crumb crust, grind the pretzels in a food processor until fine, this should yield 1 cup of crumbs; be sure to measure the crumbs-1 full cup is needed. mix the crumbs with the sugar and butter and toss to combine. press the mixture to the sides and bottom of a 9" pie plate. set aside until the mousse is complete.
in a mixing bowl on high, whip the egg whites until foamy. add the sugar and whip until almost completely stiff but they still droop slightly when the beater is raised. set the whites aside and in a separate bowl, whip the cream until almost stiff as well. when the base is completely cooled, pour it into a large but shallow mixing bowl. fold in the whites and then fold in the whipped cream and only fold until combined with no streaks visible. scrape the mixture into the prepared pie shell and cover with plastic. refrigerate for several hours to set the gelatin.
to serve, use a knife dipped in hot water to slice and be sure to clean it after each cut. pie can be garnished with additional whipped cream and pretzels if desired. to anyone that cares to bake along, send me photos and i will post them. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your photos will be added to the next entry.