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Boozy margarita pie is your drink and dessert, all in one

margarita-pie-recipe
Photo credit: PamelaJoeMcFarlane/Getty Images

Every good recipe developer and food writer gets his or her inspiration from real-world experiences. And I think explaining the inspiration behind a recipe is almost as important as the recipe itself. So, I have to tell you that this boozy margarita pie was inspired by a very special person — my husband.

My husband and I met in a bar — specifically, the oldest gay bar on the west coast, which, when I first moved out to California, I favored for two important reasons: Firstly, biweekly drag shows, featuring the Rebel Kings, one of the few King-focused drag troupes in the country, and secondly, it was close enough to my first apartment that I could walk there in high heels. And then there was this red-headed bartender who made far better cocktails than a dive bar ought to boast, and I fell in love in more ways than one.

On our first date, he told me he brought me flowers and I faked a smile. (As a Valentine’s baby born in Upstate New York, I hate getting flowers. $75 for a dozen roses flown in from across the world? I could’ve had shoes!) Seeing my reaction, he shrugged and said, “Well, my version of flowers anyway,” and he presented me with a bottle of black truffle oil. I knew from that moment there was no looking back.

For the first few months of our courtship, either of us would present the other with a small gift and say, “I brought you flowers!” the only rule, of course, being that the gift could not be flowers. One night, I brought him a slice of homemade key lime pie with a gingersnap crust, and, well, we’ve been together eight years now.

MORE: Vegan chocolate spiced cupcakes with avocado frosting are perfect for Cinco de Mayo

So, in honor of his favorite cocktail, this version takes the flavor profile of a margarita and turns it into a smooth, creamy pie that’s perfect for dessert, even if you’ve already had way too many tacos (as if there could be such a thing). This cocktail won’t get you tipsy on its own, but it’s definitely not for kids, so you can keep it to yourselves.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 10 ounces ginger snaps (I like the triple ginger ones from Trader Joe’s because they have chunks of ginger in them, but you can use whatever kind you like — gluten-free ones work great, too)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (key limes are best if you can get them, but if not, don’t stress too much as long as it comes from actual fruit and not a bottle.)
  • 1/4 cup tequila (in full disclosure, this is a pretty heavy-handed pour for the flavor balance here. If you’re like Mary Berry and you like a little pie with your booze, go for it. If you lean more toward Paul and want a kiss of tequila instead of a slap, you can halve this amount and it will still be delicious)

To get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you’ve got a rack positioned in the center of the oven.

Pulse the ginger snaps in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. Or, if you want more stress relief and fewer dishes, pop them into a well-sealed plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin until pulverized. You should have about 1-1/4 cup when you’re done.

Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter in a small bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should feel like wet sand. Press gently into an 8-inch pie tin to form crust.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine egg yolks (lightly beaten), condensed milk, orange zest, lime juice and, lastly, tequila and stir until well incorporated. You want to add the tequila in last so the alcohol doesn’t “cook” your egg yolks.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for about 30 minutes. You want the edges just set while the center still has a bit of wobble. Just after you pull it out, you may want to add a sprinkle of good salt flakes along the edges. Allow to cool to room temperature on rack and then chill in fridge for a few hours before serving.

For extra credit, add a splash of triple sec and a tablespoon of sugar to about 1/2 cup of cream and whip it up for a deliciously citrus-scented whipped cream topping. When I’m too lazy to get out the stand mixer for whipped cream, I use my immersion blender to get the job done — one of my favorite kitchen hacks. My husband makes it by hand, but he’s a show-off.

MORE: English pea toast with lemon ricotta is the new avocado toast (Spoiler: It’s delicious)

Or, if you’re just extra, you can take this pie to the next level by swapping out the tequila for mezcal and going for a deeper, richer flavor profile. Brown the butter before adding it to the crust, swap white sugar for turbinado, and finish with smoked salt. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Note: This pie is really best eaten the day it’s made, otherwise you may find that the tequila soaks into the crust. Luckily, it’s delicious, so leftovers are hardly ever an issue.

Boozy margarita pie

Yield 1 pie

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces ginger snaps 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice 
  • 1/4 cup tequila 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pulse the ginger snaps in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. You should have about 1-1/4 cup when you’re done.
  3. Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter in a small bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should feel like wet sand. Press gently into an 8-inch pie tin to form crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly combined the egg yolks, condensed milk, orange zest, and lime juice. Add the  tequila last. Stir until well incorporated. 
  5. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for about 30 minutes in the center rack, until the edges set while the center still has a slight  wobble.
  6. Optional: Add a sprinkle of good salt flakes along the edges. Allow to cool to room temperature on rack and then chill in fridge for a few hours before serving.

Notes

For extra credit, add a splash of triple sec and a tablespoon of sugar to about 1/2 cup of cream and whip it up for a deliciously citrus-scented whipped cream topping. 

You can also take this pie a deeper, richer flavor profile by using mezcal instead of tequila, browning the butter before adding it to the crust, swapping white sugar for turbinado, and finishing with smoked salt. Trust 

Pie is best when eaten the day it’s made.

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