Salted Margarita Bars
This edible cocktail is an ideal party dessert, mingling all the fun of a margarita — and its salted rim — with the efficiency of a slab pie. Key lime pie’s boozier, saltier cousin, it comes together quickly and maintains its consistency when frozen, making it a great make-ahead treat for a barbecue or a trip to the beach. Any tequila will work, but blanco is preferred for its milder taste. Don’t make the curd more than 10 minutes in advance, as the lime juice will start to thicken it, which could affect the bake.
- Serves: 16 persons
- ½cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- About 40 saltine crackers (from one 4-ounce/113-gram sleeve)
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 2teaspoons lime zest plus 1/2 cup juice (from about 4 limes)
- ¼cup tequila (preferably blanco)
- 2tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 5large egg yolks
- 1(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Flaky salt, for finishing
Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter (or use the wrapper from your stick of butter). Line the buttered pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides. (This will help you pull the bars out of the pan easily.)
Step 2Prepare the crust: In a food processor, pulse the saltines until ground like coarse sand. (Alternatively, place them in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.) It’s OK if there are a few larger pieces. Add the melted butter, sugar and salt, and pulse a few more times until all the crumbs are evenly saturated (or mix to combine in a medium bowl). Pour the mixture into the lined pan, press into an even layer and freeze for about 15 minutes.
Step 3After the crust has chilled, bake it until fragrant and golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
Step 4While the crust cools, make the filling: In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur and salt.
Step 5In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add the tequila-lime mixture to the yolk mixture, whisk to combine, then pour into the prepared crust. (It’s OK if the crust is not yet completely cool.) You may be tempted to prepare the curd earlier, but don’t do so more than 10 minutes before baking, as the lime juice will start to thicken it, which could affect the bake.
Step 6Bake 15 to 17 minutes until the curd is set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center.
Step 7Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, then freeze for at least 2 hours.
Step 8After freezing, remove the bars from the pan using the parchment paper overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with flaky salt, cut into 16 bars and serve right away. Store leftovers in the freezer. Cheers!