I baked my first buttermilk pie from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook. I’ve always been curious to bake a buttermilk pie and not having a family recipe or tradition of buttermilk pie baking, I turned to this wonderful heirloom dessert cookbook for a delicious recipe. Buttermilk pie has a unique flavor and the aroma while it bakes makes the entire house smell good. It was tangy from the buttermilk, lemony from the lemon zest and flavorful with fresh gratings of nutmeg in the filling. The delicate pecan crust is perfect with the buttermilk custard filling. If you bake this pie and you’re a pecan lover -you will love this crust. Also don’t forget to add the sugared pecans on top for a garnish.
I know that most people are running around with a million things to accomplish during this last month of the year. But, I like to think of myself as never too busy to bake a pie, especially a quick and easy buttermilk pie. No fruit to mess around with, chocolate to melt or mousse to set up -this pie is perfect for busy folks looking for a comforting delicious homemade dessert.
Originally from the UK but now a Southern delicacy, buttermilk pie is a tradition that makes the plain baked custard in a cup from my childhood look ho-hum…although I did love the baked custards from back in the day at Walnut Creek’s Comptons in Emporium-Capwells. Although, I don’t believe they used buttermilk in their custard recipe, for sure there wasn’t a pecan crust.
I like a pie recipe with history and tradition-like buttermilk pie which is sometimes referred to as ‘chess pie’, although I read that a true chess custard pie contains cornmeal which buttermilk pie does not. I also like baking a pie that you can have fun with-like adding a warm blackberry fruit sauce or sugared pecans on top.
Buttermilk pie would make a delicious addition to the holiday sweet table -how fun would it be to serve a traditional dessert that tastes so good and is easy to prepare. I like the sound of buttermilk pie and apple pie served together. I’ll take a small slice of each please!
I love to bake pies on a cold wintry day and enjoy the buttery aromas coming from my oven. I can’t think of a better gift for the family than to share this traditional Southern pie over the holidays. It’s so easy to make, there’s only one thing to remember when baking and that is to remove your pie from the oven when the filling is firm and set. Another thing I love is that it can be served slightly warm from the oven or later after being chilled in your fridge.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays, not getting too crazy and taking time to smell the evergreens-whenever possible! I finished wrapping my presents -now I have to keep my grandkids from opening their packages or guessing what’s in them before the big day arrives. I know they are excited but I want them to have something to open and be surprised by on Christmas. I guess I could tell them that Santa says you have to wait!
Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.
- for the crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into cup and leveled off)
- 1/3 cup of pecan pieces
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
- 1 large egg
- Flour for the work surface
- for the buttermilk filling
- 1&1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1&1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Sugared pecans for garnish (optional)
- to make the crust
- Combine the flour, pecans, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground.
- Add the butter and egg, pulse until the dough holds together when pinched, does not form a ball.
- Form a flat disk, wrap in waxed paper and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. (dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months)
- Lightly flour the work surface before rolling the dough out to a 12" round.
- Place the rolled dough in a 9" pie plate and gently press into the bottom and against the sides of the pan.
- Trim the dough to leave a 1" overhang over the rim of the pie plate.
- Fold the overhang of dough back over itself to form a double layer and with your fingers crimp or press the dough down around the edges.
- Place back in the fridge for 1 hour before baking to reduce shrinking.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and add pie weights before baking.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and continue to bake for 10 minutes longer until golden.
- Remove from oven and cool while making the buttermilk filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
- to make the buttermilk filling
- Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a food processor and pulse until combined.
- Add the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, lemon zest and nutmeg. Process until combined.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the warm pie shell and bake for about 55 minutes or until the filling has set and is slightly wobbly in the center.
- Cool on a metal rack.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled, garnished with pecans.
- Lower the oven to 325F.