Buttermilk Pie

April 14, 2012 • Alaska from Scratch, Cakes & Pies, Desserts, Recipes

Buttermilk Pie via Alaska from Scratch

Weather: 27 degrees, bright and sunny
What I’m listening to:
Safe and Sound, Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars

Several years back, I was on my way to San Diego and wanted to make something special for a friend’s birthday. I contacted his daughter and asked her what his favorite dessert was. She said, “Buttermilk Pie” and sent me the recipe so I could make one. Buttermilk Pie?! I had never heard of it (check out Wikipedia’s description for more on this pie’s origin). And you know me, I love to try new recipes, so I followed the directions, drove to San Diego, and hand delivered the pie to our friend.

I hadn’t thought about this pie in awhile until I came across a slightly different version of it in the April 2012 Food Network Magazine. I knew I had to make it. Buttermilk is one of those magical secret ingredients. When you add it to recipes, something special takes place, and you’re left wondering why whatever it is you made is oodles better than any you’d had before. It’s the buttermilk. I adore it  (I know some of my readers are buttermilk-lovers as well) and I almost always have a carton of it in my refrigerator.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients in the pie – it bakes up in two layers, a creamy bottom layer and a fluffier, almost meringue-like top layer. It’s delightfully rich, but there’s a unique buttermilky tartness to it that cuts through the richness just perfectly. It’s home cooking at it’s best – humble, yet surprising. Seconds, please?

All recipes in this post are from Food Network in tribute to Hunger Hits Home, a Food Network documentary on childhood hunger in America, airing this weekend and next. 

Buttermilk Pie

Crust recipe from Ree Drummond via Food Network. Pie recipe from Food Network Magazine, April 2012.

Yields: 1 9-inch deep dish pie

  • For the Crust:
  • 3c flour
  • 1t salt
  • 3/4c shortening or lard
  • 3/4c salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1T white vinegar
  • 5T cold water
  • For the Pie:
  • 1-1/4c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2c butter, melted
  • 1-1/4c sugar
  • 3T flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4t freshly grated nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting, optional (I didn't use it, mostly for looks; the pie doesn't need it for sweetness)

!For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the vegetable shortening and salted butter. Work the butter into the flour using a dough cutter until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Add the egg, 5 tablespoons cold water and the white vinegar. Stir until just combined. Divide the dough in half (you will only need one half for this recipe, reserve the other half for another use).

Roll the dough out to fit a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Ease the dough into the pie plate and crimp edges as desired. Pierce the bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Bake 20-30 minutes, until it begins to just turn golden in spots. Allow to cool.

!For the filling:

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar together until combined, about 1 minute. Add the yolks and beat until pale and thick, another minute or so.

Reduce the mixer speed and add the flour, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, and salt until just incorporated.

Increase speed to medium and gradually pour in the buttermilk. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, beating again until just completely combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Clean mixing bowl and whisk. Add the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Gently fold the eggs whites into the buttermilk mixture.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake 45-50 minutes until golden and set (the center of pie will still jiggle slightly).

Let cool on rack to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar, if using, before serving. Store in refrigerator (also good cold).