I made a buttermilk pie recently at the farm. I’m not a big fan of buttermilk; I’d never think of drinking a glass. But a cup of it blended into this custardy mixture is quite pleasant. Besides being doggone good, this pie is super easy to make. A filling can be whipped up in 5 minutes. The wait comes with the nearly hour-long cooking time.
Pulled from the oven, the top of this pie is golden brown, slightly caramelized with a creamy center that reminds me of what my mother called a custard pie. Some confuse it with a chess pie, that has cornmeal. The tangy, sweet flavor makes it perfect to serve with fruit or a dollop of whipped cream. I was missing lemons for the juice called for in the recipe, so I subbed lime juice and zest. It worked just fine.
And speaking of buttermilk, have you ever heard the expression “buttermilk sky?” It describes a rippling pattern in the clouds, that has the look of cultured buttermilk. Actually, I think it looks more like rows of fish scales. Back in the 40s, songwriter/performer Hoagy Carmichael wrote a cute little tune called Ole Buttermilk Sky. And Roy Rogers’ wife, Dale Evans, named her horse Buttermilk. Apparently buttermilk was having a favorable run back then, like kale is in the 21st century.
‘Nuff trivia; on with the recipes.
If you have some leftover buttermilk, don’t forget this incredible recipe (one of my all-time breakfast favorites): Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. It’s fluffy and flavorful, and a great treat adorned with honey-butter. For added tenderness, try adding the tangy milk to your fried chicken batter, and to roll and biscuit recipes.
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, (1 stick), softened
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice + zest
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 nine-inch unbaked pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prebake crust for 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
- Beat eggs until frothy; add butter, sugar and flour. Beat until smooth.
- Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and nutmeg; pour into partially baked pie shell.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until center is firm and knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Note: To kick this recipe into hyperdrive, replace the lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of bourbon and 1 tsp. lemon zest.