Pancakes or king cake? How to kick off Lent with good food

Shrove Tuesday. Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. The last day before you can’t eat red meat on Fridays until Easter.

There are so many ways to look at this day. It’s just another Taco Tuesday for me, but I understand that lots of you might be looking for pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday or tips on where to buy king cakes or eat some Cajun food to celebrate Mardi Gras.

What is Shrove Tuesday? Last year, freelancer Beth Goulart explained why many Protestants and Catholics stuff their faces with pancakes on this last day before the traditional fasting of Lent begins. (Did you know there’s an Epiphany king cake, too? That’s another religion/food story that Goulart has written for us.)

 

View this post on Instagram

⚜️Bringing some Mardi Gras to Austin ⚜️

A post shared by 2 Hungry Gals (@2hungrygals) on

 

Plenty of you have been posting photos of king cakes on Instagram today, and Melanie Haupt compiled a pretty excellent map of where to buy them over on Eater.

I’ve never tried to make a king cake, but I make pancakes (and waffles) enough to know that you can make them from bananas and that they don’t have to be as unhealthy as we make them out to be. (The cup of syrup I poured over my pancakes last weekend, however, is another story.)

Here’s a protein-packed, gluten-free pancake that shouldn’t make you feel guilty. There’s enough of that going around during the Lenten season.

Online friends Jessica Kahn and Rianna Alberty collaborated on a new mini-cookbook called "Stack'd," which features 30 recipes based on a nutrient-dense, protein-packed pancake recipe that is also gluten-free. Photos by Rianna Alberty.
Online friends Jessica Kahn and Rianna Alberty collaborated on a new mini-cookbook called “Stack’d,” which features 30 recipes based on a nutrient-dense, protein-packed pancake recipe that is also gluten-free. Photos by Rianna Alberty.

The Classic (Gluten-Free Protein Pancake)

A few years ago, Austin food stylist and photographer Rianna Alberty and Sacramento blogger Jessica Kahn collaborated on an e-cookbook called “Stack’d: The Gluten-Free Protein Pancake Cookbook.” The book transforms a basic recipe for a gluten-free, nutrient-dense pancake batter into 30 different dishes, from savory chive and cheddar flapjacks or sweet potato pancakes to lemon ricotta pancakes with berry compote or strawberry shortcake. All of them are based on the techniques and ingredients in this recipe, which they simply call The Classic.

Subtly sweet and altogether scrumptious, these classic cakes are simple to prepare and are the perfect springboard recipe should you get the hankering to have a little fun in the kitchen. If you’re not a fan of Greek yogurt, you can use cottage cheese or even a banana in its place. You also can replace the oats with half a cup of almond meal or flour.

3 Tbsp. milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. agave syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla whey protein powder (optional)

To keep pancakes warm while you make the full batch, preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Using a blender, first add all of the wet then dry ingredients. This will expedite the blending process, brief though it may be. Blend until the oats are broken down and the batter is smooth, about 10 to 15 seconds.

Heat a non-stick griddle or pan to medium. Test the temperature with a quick spritz of water – just run water on your fingertips and flick it in the direction of the cooking surface. If it sizzles, it’s ready. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray and you’re all set for the batter.

Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle or pan. Cook on the first side for 1 to 2 minutes or until the edges start to cook and bubbles appear on the surface. Lift the side of the pancake up just a bit to see where it is in the browning process. Ideally, let them cook until they are a golden, maple color.

Because these pancakes won’t have the rigidity of their flapjack forefathers, the swooshing technique can work wonders. Grab a spatula and, quite literally, swoosh it under the target pancake in one swift motion. Then flip it over.

Cook on the second side for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden-brown. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and keep warm in the oven. Continue with remaining batter. Serves one or two.

— From “Stack’d: The Gluten-Free Protein Pancake Cookbook” by Jessica Kahn and Rianna Alberty

Check out these amazing homemade feasts you made in February

It’s almost the first of March, but I’m still thinking about Valentine’s Day. (Or maybe I’m just still eating Valentine’s candy.)

Either way, when I was browsing February’s #Austin360Cooks photos on Instagram — we got more than 400 submissions this month — I was delighted to see so many people treating themselves, their loved ones and even their kids with special homemade treats all month long.

austin360cookschocolate
Contributed by @hawaiilifeatx

My kids and I spent Valentine’s eve making dozens of cupcakes for their classmates, but those treats paled in comparison to @hawaiilifeatx’s epic chocolate-dipped strawberry dessert. Marshall Taylor, a Hawaii-loving Le Cordon Bleu graduate, made a chocolate cup in which he served chocolate-dipped strawberries dipped in a variety of ganache and served with whipped cream, toasted pecans and cookie crumbs.

austin360cooksflourlesscake
Contributed by @thefoodiekids
austin360cooksbrulee
Contributed by @foodbanjo

The trio of kiddos behind @thefoodiekids recently launched their own blog, thefoodiekids.com, where they posted the recipe for a flourless chocolate cake they made for the holiday, and the husband-wife team behind @foodbanjo, Aimee and Josh Pruett, shared their recipe and photo for a vanilla creme brûlée on their blog, foodbanjo.com.

austin360cooksfilet
Contributed by @allieeatsatx
Contributed by @thenicolai
Contributed by @thenicolai

Men across Austin, including @allieeatsatx’s boyfriend, pulled out all the stops for a special night in. He made filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms over a bed of grilled asparagus with a caprese salad. Nicolai McCrary (@thenicolai, nicolai.photography) made a dish worthy of a high-end restaurant anywhere in the country: scallops with salmon roe, watercress purée, shiso leaf and pickled carrot.

austin360cooksmoules
Contributed by @supertsai

Peter Tsai (@supertsai) spent Valentine’s evening cooking moules frites to serve with an avocado salad and truffled burrata, but he didn’t bother with frying french fries. In a comment, he confessed that although homemade fries are delicious, they are so messy that they often ruin the cooking fun. He recommends the frozen H-E-B waffle fries, though for this dish he used Trader Joe’s fries tossed in a homemade garlic butter sauce before serving.

Contributed by @mexicanity
Contributed by @mexicanity

 

Contributed by @delishplan
Contributed by @delishplan

Hector Gonzalez Hernandez (@mexicanity) went all-out with hearts in a vegan taco filled with roasted sweet potatoes, radishes and Brussels sprouts greens. On the other end of the carnivore scale, Sharon Chen (@delishplan, delishplan.com) wrapped a beef tenderloin in puff pastry to make beef Wellington.

austin360cookslobster
Contributed by @emilyteachout

Emily Teachout (@emilyteachout, atimetokale.com) took on another classic with her take on lobster: a curried lobster tail served over butternut squash noodles with spicy tomatoes and basil.

Don’t forget to add #Austin360Cooks to your posts on social media to share them with hundreds of other Central Texans who love to cook. Here’s a gallery of our February submissions.

Recipe: Crispy lentils, fried pears pair well in this warm winter salad

A few weeks ago, we explored poaching pears to take advantage of their flavor and ability to soak up other flavors.

Gill Meller, one of the head chefs at England’s River Cottage cooking school, takes another approach to the fruit. In this savory lentil dish from “Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes” (Quadrille, $35), Gill Meller fries pear slices and cooked lentils to mix with roasted red onions, a trifecta of ingredients that blend beautifully together but also might inspire other dishes with lightly fried fruit, skillet-popped lentils or roasted alliums.

This dish has two unexpected ingredients: fried pears and crispy lentils. It’s from “Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes” by Gill Meller. Contributed by Andrew Montgomery
This dish has two unexpected ingredients: fried pears and crispy lentils. It’s from “Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes” by Gill Meller. Contributed by Andrew Montgomery

Choose ripe pears, but not overripe or else they will fall apart in the pan when you fry them. Taste the lentils as they cook to make sure they crisp up nicely without getting too crunchy. (However, some people cook them in the oven until they are crunchy for a protein-dense snack.) No need to serve this dish with meat, but a few crumbles of goat or blue cheese might be a nice addition.

Fried Pears with Roasted Red Onions and Crispy Puy Lentils

gatherplc_us-2Heaping 1/2 cup puy lentils, rinsed
2 red onions, each cut into wedges
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 ripe pears
1 Tbsp. butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the rinsed lentils in a medium pan, cover with water, and set over high heat. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 18 to 25 minutes, until the lentils have softened but retain some bite. Drain them, then leave them in the colander and allow the steam to evaporate.

While the lentils cook, place the onion wedges in a roasting pan with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, toss to coat and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast the onions in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the wedges are soft and starting to color. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Slice each pear into quarters, remove the cores, then cut each quarter in half again, giving 16 wedges of pear altogether. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter and oil mixture is bubbling, add the pear slices to the pan. Fry them gently for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they have taken on a little color. Remove the pear wedges from the pan and keep them warm.

Leaving the skillet on the stove, increase the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining oil, followed by the cooked lentils. Season with a little salt and pepper, and fry, tossing regularly, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are crisped.

Arrange the warm roast onions and pears on a large serving platter. Scatter over the lentils, drizzle over the lemon juice, and bring to the table immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

— From “Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes” (Quadrille, $35) by Gill Meller

Killing time this weekend? Here’s how to make your own Lärabars

Lisa Leake is the North Carolina-based blogger whose quest to forgo any kind of processed food for 100 days turned into a cookbook writing career.

These homemade Larabars have only three ingredients, and you can store them in the freezer. Contributed by Lindsey Rose Johnson
These homemade Larabars have only three ingredients, and you can store them in the freezer. Contributed by Lindsey Rose Johnson

After the success of her bestselling debut in 2014, Leake is now on her second book, “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food,” which focuses on quicker versions of the family-friendly meals her fans love. She uses whole ingredients that are relatively easy to find and combines them in interesting ways that appeal to both parents and kids, including recipes for crispy pork with a cracker crust, Parmesan-crusted chicken, homemade ranch dressing and sloppy joe spice mix.

These homemade Lärabars are easy enough for young cooks to help you make, and you can add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices, if you’d like. The bars store well in the freezer, too.

100daysrealfoodfastfabulous_finalCopycat Cashew Cookie “LÄRABAR”

Store-bought Lärabars are such a simple snack, using only a few whole ingredients, which means they’re easy to make at home as well. And, as with most things, it’s hard to beat the taste of homemade! My daughters seriously love these things.
— Lisa Leake

1 cup dried Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup peanut butter

In a food processor, combine the dates, cashews, peanut butter and 1 tablespoon water and puree until the mixture starts to stick together. Add a little more water if necessary to help the mixture come together.

Use your hands to squeeze the date mixture into one big clump. Mash it down on a cutting board or sheet of wax paper to form an even rectangle about 1/2-inch thick, using the sides of your hands (or a knife) to make the edges straight. Cut it into 12 even squares. (As an alternative, you could roll the mixture into balls.) For best results, store in the fridge, although the bars can be kept at room temperature. Makes 12 bars.

— From “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous” by Lisa Leake (William Morrow, $29.99)

Can’t wait for Rodeo Austin? Fried food awaits at last weekend of San Antonio Rodeo

Fried Oreos, fried beer, fried butter.

I’ve heard it all, especially from the State Fair of Texas folks up in Dallas who have set a new bar for fried fair foods.

sanantoniorodeo
Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

At last weekend’s San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, I got to try my first “weird” fried foods. Sure, I’ve had corn dogs and funnel cakes and fried cheese sticks before, but when I saw the words “fried cookie dough,” I knew I’d met my destiny.

img_8375
Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Cookie dough has always been one of my favorite indulgences, but I wasn’t sure frying it would make it any better or more delicious. The truth is, I was probably right. The fried cookie dough was fine. They scoop a ball of regular cookie dough (without the eggs, I presume), dip it quickly in batter and then fry it on a stick. The result is slightly warm cookie dough that has the texture of ice cream that you left on the counter for a little too long. The batter adds a little bit of crispiness to each bit, but for $8, I don’t know that I’d go back for seconds. In fairness, one person couldn’t eat that whole ball of dough, so the $8 treat can be easily shared.

friedfoods
Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

On the savory side of things, we also tried fried cheese curds, another $8 treat, but one that felt more familiar. These little guys tasted like mozzarella cheese sticks, but they did have that slight squeak that we love about cheese curds. The real treat was the ranch dipping sauce that came on the side.

img_8372
Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this pizza at the nearby food court. Chicken wings on one side; a corn dog on the other. My brain has a hard time computing this, but I can see why it’s popular.

img_8374
Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The biggest food tradition at the San Antonio Rodeo is the Van De Walle Fajita Corral, where volunteers run the food stand to earn money for the rodeo’s many scholarships and youth programs. (The whole rodeo and stock show is a fundraiser for ag-loving high school students across the state.)

The Van De Walle company started sponsoring this tent in 1986, and it’s the place where you can still get a $3 breakfast taco or $5 fajita taco while you think about that $8 treat you’ve had your eye on.

The rodeo continues with a show at 7:30 p.m. tonight and two tomorrow, one at 1 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m.

Both rodeo competitions are followed by live music in the AT&T Center, and the fair is open late to satiate those fried food cravings all night long. The fair side of the show will also be open on Sunday, but they don’t have any big rodeo performances.

WATCH: Taste-testing ghost chili salsa, cashew yogurt and Sassy Lassi’s drinkable yogurts

Ghost chilies, among the hottest peppers in the world, don’t often taste that good in salsa.

Charlie Crenshaw's new salsa is called Crenshaw's C6 Salsa, named in honor of the heritage of his name. Crenshaw, the nephew of famed golfer Ben Crenshaw, is the sixth generation Charlie Crenshaw in his family. Contributed by Crenshaw's C6 Salsa
Charlie Crenshaw’s new salsa is called Crenshaw’s C6 Salsa, named in honor of the heritage of his name. Crenshaw, the nephew of famed golfer Ben Crenshaw, is the sixth generation Charlie Crenshaw in his family. Contributed by Crenshaw’s C6 Salsa

More often than not, salsa-makers add far too much of the pepper for the consumer to actually enjoy the salsa. But Charlie Crenshaw, the sixth generation of Charlie Crenshaws and nephew of golfer Ben Crenshaw, has the right touch with those searing-hot peppers. Crenshaw has recently turned his salsa-making hobby into a business, and six flavors of his Crenshaw’s C6 Salsa are now available for sale at Buc-ee’s, Flying Threads and Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop in Georgetown, as well as on Amazon, with additional retailers coming soon, Crenshaw says.

In my Austin360 Facebook livestream taste test yesterday, I tried his ghost chili salsa and was surprised when I wanted to keep eating it. The hot and tequila lime flavors were equally appealing because they didn’t have too much sugar, vinegar or salt — common problems in store-bought salsa. I also really liked the smooth texture; chunky salsa reminds me of pasta sauce or the worst store-bought salsas of my youth in Missouri, far, far away from the real deal salsas you can readily find here.

Sassy Lassi is an Austin-based yogurt drink that comes in a variety of cool flavors, including rose and pineapple. You can find these drinks at retailers including Whole Foods Market, Central Market and H-E-B. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Sassy Lassi is an Austin-based yogurt drink that comes in a variety of cool flavors, including rose and pineapple. You can find these drinks at retailers including Whole Foods Market, Central Market and H-E-B. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I also tried a strawberry cashew yogurt from Forager Product, which isn’t a local product but is notable as a dairy-free yogurt alternative, as well as the locally made Sassy Lassi, an easy-to-drink probiotic yogurt in fantastic flavors, such as pineapple, rose and mango. (They also make a celery lassi that I’m both terrified and eager to try, but I haven’t been able to find it.)

The Austin-based Lick Honest Ice Cream has a ton of seasonal flavors already in stores this year, including a dewberry corn cobbler ice cream that was about as corny as it gets without tasting like actual corn on the cob.

I love trying new food products in this series! With some of them, companies will drop off samples, but I discover plenty of others while I’m browsing supermarkets and corner stores. If you see a new product that you think I should try, let me know in the comments, on social media (I’m @broylesa) or via email: abroyles@statesman.com.

Headed to the cake show this weekend? Prepare to be amazed

Remember the Willie Nelson cake?

That’s the 2013 cake from Austinite Natalie Sideserf at the That Takes the Cake show that went viral not long after her husband posted it on Reddit.

Natalie Sideserf made this cake of Willie Nelson in 2013 that went viral. She and her husband, Dave, are now the stars of a new Food Network show called “Texas Cake House.” Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman 2013
Natalie Sideserf made this cake of Willie Nelson in 2013 that went viral. She and her husband, Dave, are now the stars of a new Food Network show called “Texas Cake House.” Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman 2013

Fast forward four years, and the Sideserfs are now the stars of a new Food Network reality show called “Texas Cake House” that debuted in January and shows how they make the craziest pieces of edible art you’ve ever seen. Although only two episodes have aired, more will air later this year.

You don’t have to wait for new episodes to see some awesome cake action. This weekend, the Sideserfs and hundreds of other cake artists from around the country will be showing at the That Takes the Cake Cake and Sugar Arts Show. The show takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Round Rock Sports Complex, 2400 Chisholm Trail Road, and along with the competition, the event includes classes and hands-on activities.

Realistic sculpture cakes are among the many attractions to That Takes the Cake, one of the largest cake and sugar arts shows in the country, which is now in its 13th year. Marcial Guajardo / Round Rock Leader
Realistic sculpture cakes are among the many attractions to That Takes the Cake, one of the largest cake and sugar arts shows in the country, which is now in its 13th year. Marcial Guajardo / Round Rock Leader

In this week’s food section, I had a whole story about how these cake artists are pushing the limits of edible art. One of the bakers in the story, Sara Weber, has a fine art degree, but didn’t start getting serious about caking — as it is known — until just a few years ago. Now, she’s winning contests and teaching classes and making hyper-realistic cakes.

Weber will be among the many competitors and teachers at this weekend’s event. Here are a few more photos to give you an idea of what you’ll see if you’ve never attended before:

09-that-takes-the-cake-2-jp1
This cake was a winner in the special techniques category at the That Takes the Cake show in 2009. Contributed by Lettuce Turnip Photography

 

dyc-cake-07
That Takes the Cake draws cake artists from all over the country for its annual show in Round Rock each February. American-Statesman 2011

 

lhs-cake-show-05
More than 300 show-stopping cakes will be on display at the annual That Takes the Cake cake and sugar arts show. Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman 2013

 

Blue Bell gets meta with new ice cream flavor

Blue Bell has a new flavor of ice cream rolling out this month that tastes like a riddle and an enigma wrapped in one.

OK, I’m not sure what that tastes like, but I do know that Blue Bell’s new flavor is called Ice Cream Cone.

Blue Bell's newest flavor is called Ice Cream Cone and includes chunks of chocolate-covered cone in the ice cream. Contributed by Blue Bell
Blue Bell’s newest flavor is called Ice Cream Cone and includes chunks of chocolate-covered cone in the ice cream. Contributed by Blue Bell

What does ice cream cone ice cream taste like, you ask? According to the Brenham-based company, which is still recovering after a massive recall that threatened to close it down: “Ice Cream Cone is a tasty vanilla ice cream loaded with dark chocolate-coated cone pieces, chopped roasted peanuts, all surrounded by a rich chocolate sundae sauce swirl.”

So, the cone pieces are in the ice cream, along with peanuts and sundae swirl sauce. This will be a limited time flavor, Blue Bell says, and you can expect other new flavors from them later this year.

Last July, Blue Bell released its first new flavor after the recall, Cookie Two Step, and now you can find flavors such as Chocolate Almond Marshmallow Ice Cream, Coconut Fudge Ice Cream and Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream on grocery store shelves across the state.

In other news, Blue Bell ice cream is just now starting to regain some of the distribution it lost during the listeria recall, re-entering the Arizona, North Carolina and Colorado markets starting next month.

 

From a release:

“We may have solved one of the biggest dilemmas for ice cream fans, cone versus bowl,” said Ricky Dickson, Blue Bell president. “Ice Cream Cone is a great combination of everything you would expect, vanilla ice cream, chocolate and cone pieces. And a cone always needs a topping, so we added in the chopped roasted peanuts. Ice Cream Cone is about as close to perfection as you can get.”

 

 

Bon Appetit snags the recipe for Bob Armstrong dip

Bob Armstrong is having a moment today.

Well, in Austin, the former land commissioner and state representative is always having a moment because he’s always on the menu at Matt’s El Rancho, one of the most popular and iconic Tex-Mex restaurants in the city.

USE THIS PHOTO ON JUMP ZACH RYALL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN. 4/24/79. Bob Armstrong strums the banjo and sings to Marry Anne Wooten, a volunteer with the Natural Science Association as they paddle downstream in Town Lake near the Zilker Nature Trail. Noel Dolce is also in the boat but has his back to the camera. Noel Dolce is the Natural Science Association president. This was a promo for the annual Zilker Safari.
Bob Armstrong strums the banjo and sings to Marry Anne Wooten, a volunteer with the Natural Science Association as they paddle downstream in Town Lake near the Zilker Nature Trail. Zach Ryall / 1979 American-Statesman file photo

The Bob Armstrong dip, which Armstrong himself had been known to enjoy before his death in 2015, has the holy trinity of queso, guacamole and ground beef.

Lisa Fain, aka The Homesick Texan, recreated the recipe on her blog in 2014 — you’ll remember she has a whole queso book in the works — but last month, Bon Appetit published the official recipe from Bon Appetit’s Rick Martinez along with a video of how to put it together.

Love queso? Don’t forget to check out Matthew Odam’s Queso the Mondays series.

We’ve polled readers several times over the years about their favorite queso, and Torchy’s always seems to top the list. Here’s the most recent guide to the best queso in Austin, according to our readers.

10/24/2002 Staff Photo by Peter Yang AMERICAN-STATESMAN Matt's El Rancho. (left to right) Chile Relleno, Carne Guisada and the Bob Armstrong dip.
Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar serves the famed Bob Armstrong dip, right. Peter Yang/American-Statesman file photo

On National Margarita Day, how to turn your favorite frozen drink into an icebox pie

[cmg_anvato video=3921991 autoplay=”true”]

Every day is Margarita Day around these parts, but we’ll accept that we need a National Margarita Day, too.

Frozen or on the rocks? That's a question you'll hear plenty today at places like El Mercado in South Austin. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN
Frozen or on the rocks? That’s a question you’ll hear plenty today at places like El Mercado in South Austin. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Today happens to be that day, and to celebrate, why not learn the science behind frozen and rocks margaritas or flip through a gallery of our favorite margaritas around Austin? (Matthew Odam’s favorite margarita is at La Condesa, BTW.)

Not interested in making a pie? Here are the only two margarita cocktail recipes you need, from the Tipsy Texans themselves.

Margarita pie, left, and gin-infused lemonade pie are boozy variations of the easy icebox pie, a refreshing dessert to make in the heat of summer. TINA PHAN/AMERICAN-STATESMAN. 7/28/2016. Statesman food writer Addie Broyles makes citrus icebox pies at the Statesman studio on Thursday, July 28, 2016 for the Year of Baking series. A margarita icebox pie is on the left and a lemonade gin pie is on the right.
Margarita pie, left, and gin-infused lemonade pie are boozy variations of the easy icebox pie, a refreshing dessert to make in the heat of summer. Tina Phan / American-Statesman

Margarita Pie

Feel free to use this margarita pie as a base to inspire your own boozy pie creation. For a not-so-sweet pie, replace one of the cans of sweetened condensed milk with either 1 1/2 cups whipped cream or 8 ounces of cream cheese. Let your favorite cocktails inspire you to adjust the booze to your liking, too. The lemonade pie I made with 3 Tbsp. gin and 1 Tbsp. triple sec was particularly good.

1 package vanilla or lemon sandwich cookies
5 Tbsp. melted butter
Pinch salt
3/4 cup (about 1/2 a can) limeade concentrate, thawed
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (see headnote about substitutions with whipped cream or cream cheese)
3 Tbsp. tequila
1 Tbsp. triple sec

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the sandwich cookies, including the filling, until they turn into crumbs. Add the butter and salt and pulse a few more times. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes and then let cool.

In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to combine the limeade concentrate with the sweetened condensed milk (and cream cheese or whipped cream, if using), tequila and triple sec. Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least two hours.

— Addie Broyles