Judson and I started dating in 2009, and it was early in 2015 before we realised that we were planning each other's birthdays based on what we ourselves want for our own birthdays. That is, for years I made him a cake every year because (to me), a birthday is not a birthday if you can't have cake (with frosting). And for years, he suffered through slices of cake in which he had no interest*, because he didn't want to hurt my feelings.
I, on the other hand, suffered through years of birthdays with no cake (my birthdays were, obviously, much worse than his cake-filled ones) because he hates cake, and so it never even occurred to him to buy one, much less make one. It wasn't until I turned 29 last fall that I realised I would have to do something about my cakeless birthdays because they were bumming me out so badly, and when I mentioned to Judson that cake was kind of central to my birthday experience, he hesitated for a brief second before suggesting, “Ok, I'll make sure to handle cake on your future birthdays... But do you think you could stop making me cake on my birthday?”
At least it only took us five years instead of thirty to figure this out, I guess?
Oh well, I took my mission seriously this year and successfully made NO CAKE for Judson's 35th birthday this year... but when I found this 3 ingredient Key Lime Pie recipe in the box (handwritten in pencil on the back of a class schedule), and remembered that key lime pie is the only dessert Judson will put up with (besides root beer floats), I knew I had to make it anyway. And it got two thumbs up from the birthday boy, so I think I chose wisely.
We had a busy weekend celebrating Judson's birthday with friends on Friday night, with my dad on Saturday (who happened to be in town), and with an amazing dinner high over the city at a fancy restaurant on Saturday night, so I only had a few minutes to make this. Thusly, I chose to use a pre-made crust. But before you judge, keep this in mind: I've probably made more pie crusts in the last two months than most people have in the last five years, and I've discovered something important: pie crusts taste roughly the same whether they are homemade or store-bought, but they are infinitely more difficult to make than they are to buy. Making a good one is a skill that everyone should have, but this time around, I didn't particularly feel the need to do so. If you, like me, need an amazing summery dessert but don't have the time to make an elaborate one, try this. It's delicious.
So if you're celebrating the birthday of someone you love as much as I love my amazing, supportive, bearded, silly, video-game-playing, song-writing husband, make this quick and easy pie. Even if your dearly beloved doesn't like birthday cake, chances are they'll still love this pie.
*HOW does someone have no interest in cake, and WHO is this man who I have committed my life to?
P.S. I recognise that this pie is, strictly speaking, a lime pie, since it's made with Persian Limes (the only kind I can get my hands on over here), but if you can access key lime juice (or, even better, key limes), you can make it the way it should be, and it would be even more delicious. But don't feel bad if all you have is regular limes. No one will know the difference.
5 spoons out of five. I grew up in Florida, I love key lime pie just as much as Judson, and we had a blast celebrating his birthday with this amazing pie. If you're feeling ambitious, make this with a homemade crust (might I recommend this one?). But if you're like me and need a corner to cut, this is the perfect recipe on which to use a pre-made shortcrust or graham cracker crust (if you're in the US). You know, I think I'll go have a slice right now.
(Key) Lime Pie
Preheat oven to 176C/350F.
Mix all ingredients together and pour in pie shell.
Bake 15 minutes until just set but not yet browned.
1 can condensed milk
½ c lime juice
4 egg yolks
1 pre-made pie crust