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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Buttermilk Pie - easy and delicious!

Buttermilk pie - the house-pie of the South!
Our grandmother made this pie when we were growing up. It's very sweet and tangy, and about as Southern as you can get in the dessert world. What really makes this particular version special is the light crust that forms on top. This is coveted in the buttermilk pie world, and if you google it you'll find a million posts of people (unsuccessfully) trying to get that crust on top. :)

The best part about this recipe is how simple it is to make with things you already have in your kitchen.

This time of year is tough because people have so many pot lucks and holiday parties to attend.What do you do? Swing by the grocery store to grab some cookies? Nah... you need a simple dish, one that takes about 5 minutes to put together but still packs a punch. There are rarely any leftovers, but it's just as easy to double the recipe and make two.

I make this in an easy flaky pie crust or simple shortbread crust, but this recipe is so delicious people won't notice if you put it in a store-bought crust.

Recipe Note: The proportions of ingredients are critical to the outcome of this pie and the crust on top. You'll find that all buttermilk pie recipes on the internet more or less have the same ingredients, but in slightly different proportions. The proportions below should not be changed. It's tempting to reduce the sugar and try to substitute with more flour, but you won't get the crust on top and the texture will change completely. It doesn't turn out nearly as sweet as you'd think.

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature (add 1/4 tsp salt if using unsalted butter) 
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 rounded tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk* (regular buttermilk has the same calories and fat as whole milk. Try to avoid low-fat if possible as the texture isn't as good.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 9" regular (not deep dish) pie shell or shortbread crust
  • * If you can't find regular buttermilk, you can substitute as such: In a glass measuring cup, add 1 tbsp white vinegar, then fill to the 1-cup line with whole milk. Let sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature. (This shortcut is the reason some people call this "vinegar pie".)

  1. Let your eggs and buttermilk sit on the counter for an hour to come to room temperature. This is important, otherwise the filling will separate when you add the butter.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Whisk all the ingredients together in the order listed, whisking well after each addition. If any of it starts to separate, just whisk the heck out of it until right before putting into the pie crust.
  4. Pour into a pie shell or shortbread crust. (If you're using a tart pan, make sure to put it on a baking sheet as the butter in the shortbread crust will kind of leak out of the bottom.)
  5. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 350F and cook for 35 more minutes.
  6. The pie will jiggle a bit in the center, but don't worry. It'll set up as it cools. Let cool on the counter for an hour, then completely chill in the refrigerator overnight. (Don't put it in the fridge too soon or it may not set up properly.)
Yes lawd!
Buttermilk pie - the house-pie of the South!

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