Not A Baker

What a jerk of a pie.

I am not a baker. At all. Baking requires patience and the ability to precisely follow directions - both areas where I come up short.

I adore cooking. I will kind of/mostly follow a recipe the first time, but after that, all bets are off. I will make substitutions if I don't have an ingredient(s) or just want to mix things up a little. I will read through a recipe once, then use it as an inspiration to do my own thing. I love the creativity and freedom that cooking has to offer.

But baking is a completely different ballgame. A baker needs to be exact and precise, and if they are not, your cake will fall or whatever and I just can't do it.

But, every year for her birthday, my mother hints around at key lime pie. I have a recipe via Emeril Lagasse that I got years ago. While there are a bunch of steps, I have to keep mumbling to myself whilst making it: "It's for Mom, so if that's what she wants, a key lime pie is what I will make."

I started on Wednesday and made my own sweetened condensed milk. Yes, I can buy it at the store, but my daughter, Maya, is a Type 1 diabetic, so I try my best to tweak recipes so that they're a little easier on her blood sugar numbers. Sweetened condensed milk has a truckload of carbohydrates in it, and this recipe calls for two whole cans, so I made my own with Splenda instead.

Friday morning, I crushed up the graham crackers in the food processor, mixed them up with some sugar and butter, smooshed them up against the sides of a springform pan, and made the crust.

After it cooled, I mixed in my homemade sweetened condensed milk, a bunch of lime juice, and eggs. Baked the pie in my new oven at the 325° as Emeril instructed, let it cool, wrapped it up, and put it in the fridge.

I even made my own whipped cream with sour cream and confectioners sugar and lime zest. I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Saturday morning, I got the pie out of the refrigerator, went to put extra foil on the top and discovered it was complete liquid inside. It never set and I was devastated. All that hard work, my time, and a birthday gift for Mom no less—ruined.

I now refer to this pie as The A-hole Pie. I have never dealt with such an jerky baked good in my life. What did I ever do to this pie but love and care for it??? Why would it wrong me in such a way?!? I wanted to hurl it out into my driveway.

Mom told me to bring the pie anyway; if necessary, she would drink it through a straw.

We ended up re-baking it, and believe it or not, while the crust was too soft, it actually turned out OK. Extra sour, just like Mom likes it. Charley, my youngest, kept asking for more "sour pie", and Maya, my oldest, got to enjoy a whole piece without it affecting her blood sugar.

This pie really did try to do me in. I'm even less of a baker than before, but I'll probably make it again next year anyway. You know...For Mom.