I have one, major, not-so-fond memory of buttermilk as a child. I was vaguely (very vaguely) aware that it was used in baking things like biscuits and pancakes, but I never put much thought into exactly what buttermilk was. Until one fateful day, I was at my grandparents’ house. I opened the fridge looking for something, I don’t remember what, and there sat a carton of buttermilk. And so I pondered it… buttermilk… Buttermilk. Why hadn’t I had this before? It sounded just delicious. And since my parents had never stocked it nor offered it to us, I automatically assumed it must be fatty and rich and delicious, because why else would those health nuts deny me this beautifully-named dairy beverage?
I helped myself to quite the tall glass. So excited was I, I took a pretty decent-sized gulp. And this is where the story gets extremely predictable, even more so than during the first paragraph. Oh the horror. The sourness, the bitterness, it was so unbelievably terrible! It wasn’t just thick, it was gloppy. And so sour and bitter!! Needless to say, I did not finish my glass, so my sincere apologies to Nina and Pawpaw for wasting that buttermilk.
This little incident seared into my memory, so you can understand that I was always reluctant to try buttermilk pie. I mean, why would you ruin pie? Or so my thinking always went… Turns out, no – buttermilk does not ruin a pie. Au contrare, it actually makes it quite delicious. And the whiskey didn’t hurt anything. Of course. I’m now happily in love with buttermilk pie, though if I ever again express desire to drink buttermilk straight out, please just dial 9-1-1. Something is terribly wrong… Enjoy!
Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English
½ recipe of this amazing pie dough
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus ½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbs whiskey
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a regular 9” pie plate. Trim and fold the crust overhang as needed and decoratively crimp the pie edges. Or, flatten the pie on the edges of the pie plate and make pretty indentations with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the pie shell while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and flour, making sure there are no lumps. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, whiskey, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and place in the preheated oven. It’s best to set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet, just in case of spill-over, and it makes it easier to remove later.
Turn the oven down to 325 F and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still a tiny bit wobbly, but not liquidy.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
Store leftover pie in the fridge.