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Chef Jon Ashton Margarita Pie

Create this Sweetly Refreshing Dessert Just the Way You Like

This Sunday, frozen summertime dessert meets classic cocktail, the shores of Mexico meet your own kitchen or backyard and the expert techniques of Chef Jon Ashton meet your own preferred preparations. Frozen margarita pie is everything a summer weekend afternoon needs: sweet and light, yet creamy and indulgent with tequila and triple sec to kick things up a notch. And just as you’ll find aboard Crystal ships, this week’s featured dish offers several choices to make it exactly as you like.

FUN FACT: “Margarita” is the Spanish word for daisy, which is the name of another cocktail altogether – or genre of cocktails, that is. The formula is simply spirit + citrus + sweetener. Beyond that, it’s a matter of personal preference, from gin daisy to vodka daisy, brandy daisy or whiskey daisy.

Margaritas flow freely along the coastlines of Mexico from Cabo San Lucas and Costa Maya to Huatulco to Puerto Chiapas – as well as aboard the Crystal voyages that explore these shores. Crystal Serenity sailings in 2021, 2022 and 2023 are the perfect culmination of Mexico’s most famous cocktail and Crystal’s endless selection of sweet treats, blended (or stirred) with the sun-soaked explorations of ancient ruins, vibrant villages, deep-sea realms and more.

In the meantime, prep your pantry with the detailed recipe below and plan to join us LIVE for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton on Sunday, August 9 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Frozen Margarita Pie
By Chef Jon Ashton


Sweet Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 crackers) (130 grams)
2 Tablespoons, plus one teaspoon sugar (35 ml)
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick, 60 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Salty Crust 
3 ounces Saltine crackers or (26 crackers) crushed (85 grams)
8 tablespoons softened (1 stick) unsalted butter (115 grams)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon sugar (20 grams)
1 teaspoon orange zest (5 grams)

FUN FACT: While many prefer the rim of their margarita to be salt-free, aficionados insist that the salt is an important element in tempering any bitterness from the liquor and enhancing the aromas and flavors of the main ingredients.

7 large egg yolks, at room temperature 
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
1 (14-ounce) (415 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
10 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (5-6 limes) (150 ml)
1 tablespoon triple sec (15 ml)
1 tablespoon tequila (15 ml)

FUN FACT: Dozens of variations of the margarita exist to suit the preferences of virtually anyone, from classic fruit options like strawberry and mango to more extravagant chocolate and Sriracha. But the original, traditional margarita is based in the sour citrus flavor of lime.

Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream (240 ml)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (50 grams)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 ml)

Alternative Meringue Topping 
1/4 cup water (60 ml)
3/4 cup plus 2.5 tablespoons sugar (180 grams)
1 teaspoon corn syrup (5 ml)
3 egg whites


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

For the sweet crust:
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom (not sides) of a 9-inch pie pan.

For Salty Crust: 
Combine the crushed Saltines, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into sides of pie pan. Chill pie pan for 15 minutes, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow crust to cool completely (about 15 minutes).

For the Filling: 
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until creamy and thick. With the mixer on low speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, triple sec and tequila. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.

For Whipped Cream Topping:
Whisk together heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on high speed until it becomes stiff.

For Alternative Topping:
Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan, then cook over medium heat until a thermometer inserted reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C). Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or large bowl until frothy.

Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and slowly, with the mixer running, beat the sugar into the egg whites until the meringue becomes cool and holds a stiff peak.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the meringue, and pipe the meringue, in small peaks, onto the tops of the pie.

Use a crème brûlée torch or blowtorch to brown the tips of the meringue. The pies can also be quickly placed under the broiler to brown the tips.

Top pie with whipped cream topping, or alternative topping.

Makes one 9-inch pie. 

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

Crystal invites travelers to book now and save with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.

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Posted on June 20, 2017