A Basic Southern Pie – Buttermilk
Believed to have originated in England, it was brought over to America by Southern settlers. Now, when we hear “buttermilk pie,” we instantly think of the South.
As easy as a homemade pie crust is to make, it’s one of the most difficult things to master. One day it turns out, the next day it’s a disaster. I like a certain pie crust made with half real butter and half Crisco, and it doesn’t need to chill in the fridge before rolling. It makes 2 crusts-either top & bottom or 2 bottom crusts. My solution to this is to always make 2 pies with a single crust – one for us and one for a friend. It’s just downright neighborly, don’t you think?
No special tools or food processor for me, although you can certainly use one. I actually use a couple of butter knives or a large fork to cut the fat into the flour, then I finish it up with my hands, making perfect, crumbly pieces before I pour in my chilled water mixed with a tablespoon of white vinegar. Yes, you heard me right. White vinegar.
It is said that the addition of vinegar reduces the formation of gluten in the flour and tenderizes the dough.
I can’t prove this to be true – all I know is that when I add it, my pie crust always turns out tender and flaky. It also adds no taste whatsoever, so why not!
The equipment you need to make the pie filling is easy-a large bowl, a whisk and some measuring cups. Whisk the sugar and flour in the bowl, add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and finally whisk in the melted butter. Bake about an hour, or until the pie is set in the middle. Some butter will rise to the top but will settle back in when cooled.
I love this pie chilled, but one “taster slice” after it’s cooled about an hour to room temperature is always in order, along with a glass of milk or some coffee. Baker’s prerogative, I call it.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add eggs and buttermilk, stirring until blended. Stir in melted butter and vanila and pour into unbaked pie crust.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until set in the middle. Cool on a wire rack at least an hour before serving. Store leftovers, well-wrapped in refrigerator.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the water and vinegar together in a cup. Add the mixture to the crumbs. Mix together just until the dough is combined and handles well.
- Sprinkle flour on the counter before rolling out the dough. Split the dough into two chunks.
- Roll out one piece on a floured surface. Roll the dough about 1/2 an inch larger than your pie pan.
- Lay the crust in the pie pan and press down lightly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- If you are making just a bottom crust, turn the edge under and use thumbs "flute" the edges of the dough.