by Alison L. Mead
Twenty-six-year old Erica McCarron is submersed in sweet treats. A full-time baker at Mocha Mott’s, Erica’s routine includes baking biscotti, quick breads, raspberry bars, brownies and cookies—all of which the coffee shop sells daily.
But Erica is also an entrepreneur. She runs her own business on the side. Her delicious delights, especially cupcakes, are passed around at parties and served at weddings all over Martha’s Vineyard.
And sometimes Erica gets to make something even more special, Key lime pie.
When Erica was nine, she received a postcard from Florida. It wasn’t the “weather’s great, wish you were here” sentiment that captured her attention. It was the recipe adorning the front of the postcard, Key lime pie.
“I had always been throwing stuff together, not really knowing what I was doing,” she says of her childhood baking experiences. But with the arrival of the postcard in her mailbox, Erica found a recipe that her inner aspiring baker wanted to tackle.
“It’s the easiest because you don’t have to bake the pie, you just bake the crust,” said Erica. “And there are no eggs in it,” she added.
Spring is Erica’s favorite time to whip up her postcard-inspired pie.
Made with sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and sour cream, the pie is light and creamy. The slight acidity of the lime is balanced by the sweet graham cracker crust base, and a garnish of fresh whipped cream adds a decorative and delicious touch.
“It’s so different from everything else,” Erica said.
Florida is the birthplace of Key lime pie. And Floridians take this very seriously. Recipes vary in their ingredients, but purists agree that sweetened condensed milk must be included. Epicurious magazine published an article titled “The Curious Case of Key Lime Pie” in which writer Molly O’Neill went looking for the origin of the first Key lime pie recipe. She discovered that the original recipe is traced back to the late 1800s, when the first Key lime pie was created by a woman called Aunt Sally.
So what if Erica and Aunt Sally were to meet?
“I’d probably tell her she’s not only awesome because her recipe is delicious but also because it’s so simple,” Erica said. “And then I’d give her a high five. And we’d share some pie.”