The winner of The Great American Bake Off is…


Not me. So very not me.

We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Last year I brought a pumpkin pie. In the past I’ve made the crust from scratch, but that time I decided to go store-bought.

Why do frozen pie crusts always come in packs of two?

So I made up the pie mixture with pumpkin from our jack-o-lanterns. (A friend asked, “Were they cooking pumpkins?” “Uum, no…? But they’ve always worked before.”) I poured it into the frozen crust.

Apparently you’re supposed to pre-bake the crust before you bake it as a pie?!

The inside of the pie was done, but the crust was hard and raw.



Doesn’t that look good? It probably is. Because I didn’t make it. Thanks, pixabay.

Soon after, on my daughter’s birthday, I decided to make up for my pie debacle by inviting the in-laws over for my famous lemon bars, and, since I still had another frozen pie crust, I made a chocolate cream pie. THIS time, I precooked the crust. With everyone present I loudly declared, “Now that’s a well-cooked pie crust!”

Only it wasn’t. Though I don’t know why. That wasn’t the real problem, however. TheΒ  recipe called for baker’s chocolate. Why do baker’s use such bitter chocolate?! Whatever amount of sugar I added wasn’t enough. The whole pie was terrible. I spotted my husband scooping extra whipped cream onto our guests’ plates with an apologetic, “Here.” He spoke the rest with his eyes: “This will help.”

And my famous lemon bars didn’t set and were therefore a gooey, runny mess.

When I told my mom all this Thanksgiving morning, she laughed so hard I thought she might pass out.

“Today will be different!” I said. Unlike the last two times I’ve made pumpkin pie, I remembered to buy the evaporated milk in advance. I even announced to my husband, “I remembered the milk! I won’t have to send you to the store last minute! Third time’s the charm.”

But, of course, it wasn’t.

To be continued…


64 responses »

  1. I made a pumpkin once. Apparently the “forgot to add sugar” type isn’t widely liked and I had to suffer two decades of, “You, know that new restaurant? They sell whole pies.” and “Would you bring the drinks? Any thing from the store would be fine.” My final solution was to marry a great cook.

    Maybe your husband would like to take some cooking lessons …

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SOMEBODY has to create these family stories of ineptness…. I mean funny incidents. To be passed down every year!!! Well done PIF!!!! The things you do for your family are astounding. πŸ™‚ ❀


  3. Happens to everyone sometimes. The first time I forgot to put yeast in the bread I make (yes it’s happened more than once), I won’t tell you how long it took me to realize why it wasn’t going to rise. I salvaged the mistake by using the dough to make tortillas instead….and to pretend I did it on purpose.


  4. Oh, man. Are you sure this isn’t a remake of an “I Love Lucy” episode? πŸ˜€ And those lemon bars not setting? Hmmm. Methinks you should find a friend who owns a bakery. Yep. You offer to cat-sit her cats, and she can pay you back with delicious pastry πŸ˜€ Yep. That’s the ticket!


  5. I thought the reason they sell pie crusts in stacks of 2 is so one of them will arrive on the shelf unbroken while the other is a sacrificial shock absorber. I’ve never bought the frozen ones, just the shelf-stable ones, and didn’t bake even the fillings, but at least now I know what to do if I ever get frozen ones, thanks.

    Last week at checkout in the supermarket, 2 children (both girls, or maybe a girl and boy) acted like I imagined yours might: howling like wolves or coyotes. Just adorable. Combined my interests in Other People’s Children and in wolves. I the summer nights when the coyotes around here sing.


  6. How brave of you to try something new on the most pressured feasting day especially with baking. I don’t have the discipline or patience for baking so if I discover a recipe that’s a hit I stick with it and turn it into a muscle memory. As for unanticipated results, there is always ice cream or caramel sauce to add untop of something that didnt turn out sweet. Graham craker crust with butter is also an easy out with a sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie that doesn’t need prebaking. Hope you had an otherwise lovely gathering.


    • I see the graham cracker crusts, but assume they’re just for cheesecake. So you can use them for pumpkin pie, too, eh? Good to know. Here’s the weird thing: I’ve made this pie several times before. But when it’s only a year in between each time, I tend to forget some essentials. I FINALLY got the evaporate milk thing down. Once I buy more Crisco, it will last me for years–until I make that mistake again!


      • You can fill a graham crust pie with anything: molten cheese filling, pudding, or fruit. Just boil the fruit down as one might for preserves with no added sugar. Just serve it in the aluminum and/or plastic liner, because pressed cracker crumbs aren’t strong enough to hold any weight — unless you freeze the whole thing into something like an ice cream cake. Cheesecake filling can also get stiff enough to hold the whole thing together.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I get bored repeating creative stuff long enough to get good at it, so I’m always experimenting, and subjecting audiences to the product. It’s so with food, fireworks, football, foam, and [pro]fessing. Frequently I flop, face in front of efferybody.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not a baker either. I do entrees, which are way more dramatic when they go wrong. Ever made chicken corden bleu without pounding the chicken breasts flat? Like eating a rolled up mattress.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I learned something today – I did not know that you could make pies out of jack o’lantern pumpkins. I thought pumpkin came from a can. I am too cheap to buy store-bought crusts. Mine don’t look pretty, but they are tasty.


  9. After reading this, I’m feeling a lot better about our decision to pick up two slices of pumpkin pie from Perkin’s the night before Halloween and stick to a simple pumpkin cobbler in the crockpot on the big day!


  10. Pingback: The winner of The Great American Bake Off is… Part 2 | parentingisfunny

  11. I could have written this, Betsy – I’m just terrible in the kitchen. The trick I learned – I buy desserts at the grocery store, unbox them (and hide the boxes at the bottom of the trash), and tell my guests I baked them…no lie! Ha ha. My husband loves my pies now. Off to read part 2.


  12. Pingback: The winner of The Great American Bake Off is… Part 3 | parentingisfunny

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