Tequila-poached Strawberry Margarita Cakelets

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This is a recipe for your friends.  These are not confections to carry off to some office dinner party to meet your boss’ wife or to a potluck for people you don’t really know.  Why?  Because that’s some perfectly good tequila in there and it should be appreciated by and shared with only true friends.  True friends, by definition, deserve good tequila-based treats.  These are words to live by.

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For this reason, when I was invited over to my best friend’s house for dinner recently, I happily offered to bring dessert.

I knew this couple would appreciate a boozy baked good, and we have a history of tequila-based cocktails in the backyard so this recipe seemed natural.  Now let’s consider the components of the Strawberry Margarita:

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Tequila

Lime

Agave

Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)

Salt

And of course, strawberries…

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It was with those ingredients in mind that I forged ahead into formulating this recipe.  To really infuse the margarita character, I poached the strawberries in a tequila/lime/agave/salt liquid combination.  This turned out to be especially enjoyable because when you begin the simmering process, the whole house fills with the aroma of a summertime bliss.  In other words, your house smells like a giant margarita.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

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To mimic the orange liqueur, I decided to make orange-flavored cake using freshly squeezed juice and grated zest.  When finished, these treats are almost shockingly packed with the cocktail’s classic flavors and have a mouth-puckering tartness balanced by the sweet, spongy cake.  I’m calling them “cakelets” because they’re not really cupcakes, and they’re not really tarts; they’re somewhere in between.

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Before serving them after dinner I topped them off with a little bit of sea salt and a twist of lime.  For the full experience you can even serve these in a signature margarita glass!  Your true friends will truly love it.

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For the Tequila-Poached Strawberries

1 Quart of Strawberries

3 Cups of Water

1/4 Cup of Tequila (good tequila)

1/4 Cup of Agave

1/4 Cup Lime Juice

Zest of 1 Lime

1 Tsp of Salt

Simmer the strawberries in the liquid mixture for about 10 minutes, or until tender to the fork.  Remove the strawberries and continue to simmer the liquid until reduced by half, or until it becomes a syrup.

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For the orange cakelets:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

1 Egg

1/4 Cup of Sugar

1/2 Cup of Flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 Cup of Orange Juice (Freshly Squeezed, if possible)

1 Tbsp of Orange Zest

1/4 Cup of Butter

Whip together the egg, sugar, salt, orange juice, and zest for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Incrementally fold in the flour, and then the butter.

Separate into cupcake cups, filling only halfway.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Assembly:

Separate the strawberries out over the cakelets and drizzle your syrup over each.  If the syrup has become a little too thick to work with, the fix is simple – follow another one of life’s great mantras – add more tequila!!

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