Saturday, August 18, 2012

Buttermilk Pie

With this pie, I take back everything I've ever said about not liking sugary sweet desserts. This is it. The one and only where I can't get enough, that overwhelming sugary vanilla custard that's only slightly offset by the pucker-y lemon buttermilk. From my earliest memories this was my favorite pie, the pie that sealed my love for pies in general, but a dessert I make sparingly because I know my self control would not be able to hold back and my waistline would hate me for it. But sometimes, especially on quiet summer weekends, you have to indulge.

If you aren't familiar, buttermilk pie is a southern dessert. It's similar to chess pie but doesn't include any cornmeal, though I see the appeal of the extra added texture of crunch. It's got that beautiful tang from the buttermilk, another favorite from my childhood, that's almost brought to a completely different level with the complementary lemon, while cooking the top forms a delicious browned crunch. Once chilled it's irresistible, completely addictive. It's special occasion, a once in a summertime blue moon pie but so worth the extra hours at the gym.
It's also nearly fool-proof. Nothing complex here, in fact I remember making these with my Mom when I was younger, and way before I could cook with any kind of proficiency I was making this pie for family and friends. This time I thought maybe the addition of some fragrant rosemary or thyme might be lovely to add an herbaceous note, but decided this time it needed to be completely unaltered. And I'm not sure, given how few and far between I make this pie I could ever deviate from this recipe... but the options are out there.

Buttermilk Pie
1/2 c. butter-room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 Tbl. flour
3 eggs- beaten
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
Pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar until nearly white. Add in the flour, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Beat until smooth.

2. Pour in an unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until top is just browned. It should still be slightly jiggly in the middle but will solidify as it cools. I think it's best served chilled.

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