And then I kept reading post after post about The Aspen Food and Wine Classic which led me to the conclusion that I will never again eat any sort of chocolate dessert without tequila in it because again, hello?!
And then I was chit chattin’ with my Mom and she told me about this pie that is made with a saltine crust, which I just about dropped my jaw for, and then she told me about some tin roof concoction that she made for 4th of July that was a graham cracker-saltine combo with vanilla ice cream, salty peanuts, chocolate sauce, more ice cream, and more chocolate sauce and probably some more peanuts—I kinda started drifting off into a mind tumble of dessert combinations while she was talking.
So that was it. I had no other excuse. I made spicy chocolate pudding, added some tequila, and put it all in a saltine-graham cracker crust because basically I had to. And now you have to because I’m laying it all out here for you like a freakin’ road map to heaven.
Can we talk about this crust for a hot second, because I’m endlessly fascinated with it. So basically you just take like 30 saltine crackers that normally you have sitting around for chili season and crush them up in the food processor with a few graham crackers and melted butter and then pour all that crumbly goodness into a fancy tart tin like this one or a pie plate.
Then you pack it down in there good and tight and even and beautiful with your deft and masterful hands or the bottom of a measuring cup if your slightly neurotic about crust evenness (which I’m not, see the finger marks?)
You bake that baby at 375°F for 15 minutes or until it is nice a browny-brown around the edges and smells like toasted crackerey goodness. Then you let it cool completely on a wooden chair sitting next to a stuffed animal named Bito, if desired.
And that’s it. Now it is ready to fill with chocolate and tequila and all things wonderful. I’m thinking this also might be the base of my next icebox cake or even Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pie. Excuse me while I drool.
The easiest way to cut the tart is by dipping your knife in very hot water, dry it off, then make a slice. Repeat this after every slice for clean, even slices.
- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 30 crackers)
- 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (about 4 cracker sheets)
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 3 tablespoons tequila
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers, for garnish
- Raspberries and figs, for garnish (optional)
- To make the crust, heat oven to 375°F and arrange rack in the middle.
- Combine saltines and graham cracker crumbs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add butter and pulse until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Pour crust mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your fingers, press the crumbs starting from the middle out to make an even, compact crust. Work your way to the sides last, pressing the crumbs all along the side of the pan.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack before starting the filling.
- To make the filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cayenne powder, and salt in a medium saucepan, whisking to break up any lumps.
- Set the saucepan over medium heat and slowly add the half-and-half while continuously whisking. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, you want to keep the heat at medium or medium-low so the cornstarch has enough time to cook, it should take about 10 minutes for the mixture to come to a boil.
- When the filling starts to boil, remove it from the heat and add both chocolates, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and the tequila. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
- Using a plastic spatula, scrape the mixture into the cooled crust and spread evenly. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
- When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the sides of the tart pan. Combine the heavy cream, remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and the powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream on medium-high until fluffy, stiff peaks form. Pile the whipped cream on top of the tart, sprinkle with almonds, and fruit if desired and serve.