My Florida friend sent me a warning about falling iguanas. I assumed this was from The Onion, but no. When temperatures drop, the poor lizards experience a torpor – hey, I get it! – and they plummet from the trees like so many scaly Granny Smiths. As if Floridians don’t have enough to worry about, with rising oceans greedily usurping their state. Sure, they have sunshine, beaches, and citrus trees; but from those trees rain listless, fun-size alligators. There’s no free lunch.
Years ago, when I fancied myself a cocktail drinker, I got one dropped on my head. Not an iguana, a margarita. I say fancied because I liked to drink, but had no talent for it. On the night in question, I was seated as the waitress (overworked, in a bar bursting with sloppy-drunk students) managed to land a double on the rocks, in a 16 ounce stemmed glass, square on my head. It coated me in freezing, sticky liquid and shattered on my skull, leaving my bare legs littered with ice and broken glass. It shocked me a little, but Eaters: I got a free margarita. No, not the one I licked off myself; I got a gift certificate. This beats dodging a drop of humiliated lizards any day.
My days of margaritas are over, partly due to the traumatic brain injury I sustained that night. It’s too bad, because my husband makes delicious ones that include Cointreau. Though robbed of certain abilities, (mainly that of consuming more than 1.5 alcoholic drinks over 2 hours without needing to karaoke Pat Benatar’s greatest hits [and if I don’t, it’s everyone’s loss]) I maintain enough wherewithal to make dessert.
Last summer, I found a recipe in Bon Appetit for frozen margarita pie. It sounded kitschily delicious, and just the thing to sooth a darting, reptilian brain. For the full effect, have someone drop it on your head in Florida and you will get to take home a creamy, swooned lizard in a broken pie dish.
Frozen Margarita Pie
Cook’s Note: I am reproducing BA’s recipe here, except that I substitute vanilla cookies for graham crackers and omit the sugar in the crust since cookies are sweeter. So then, not really reproducing it, I suppose.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces vanilla shortbread cookies
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
5 limes, divided
1 14 ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
3 Tablespoons white tequila
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to cool. Crumble cookies into the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until mixture resembles wet (Floridian) sand. Transfer crumbs to pie dish, press in and up sides. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Whip cream until small peaks form.
Cut 4 limes in half and juice into a fine-mesh sieve set over a glass measuring cup (you should have about ½ cup juice – err on the side of more). Pour lime juice into another medium bowl and whisk in condensed milk, tequila, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt until smooth.
Fold half of whipped cream into lime juice mixture, gently folding under and over while turning the bowl. Add remaining whipped cream and continue to fold until streaks disappear.
Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling. Freeze pie at least 8 hours, or preferably overnight. Use a microplane to zest an entire lime over the top before serving.