Making my own pie crust is a difficult thing. Never have I done it and said, “Wow that was great. I think I’ll do that again.” Store bought pie crust is actually quite good and so I forever left the make your own pie crust duty to Pillsbury. Until today. I was searching through cookbooks for a pie I could make that wasn’t too difficult and didn’t entail fresh fruit of which I did not have access too unless I wanted to spend a fortune on out of season, poor tasting fruit.
I came across Best Buttermilk Pie from The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook. Buttermilk reminds me of my Grandmother who would actually drink the stuff straight. She was a brave woman. Part of the recipe included a buttermilk pie crust and according to the author, Diane St. Clair, “buttermilk has all sorts of magical properties,” and being the type of person who always wanted magical properties from my first reading of the Narnia books curled up in my “wardrobe”, I couldn’t wait to try it out.
Butter Milk Piecrust
(If you really want to ensure flakiness and not just trust in the buttermilk magic, substitute 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening for 2 tablespoons of the butter. That way you get the best balance of real butter flavor and shortening flakiness. To be sure your buttermilk is really cold, measure it out and then put the measuring cup of buttermilk in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before assembling the crust.)
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish crust
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
½ cup ice-cold buttermilk
- Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- But the butter into 8 or 10 pieces and use a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in the buttermilk all at once. Gather the pastry into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap, pressing it down into a flat disk. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. (At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 3 days, or store in the freezer for 3 weeks.)
- When ready to use, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Ideally roll forward with a wide stroke, then turn the dough a quarter turn and roll again, repeating until the dough is evenly rolled. This way, you don’t roll back and forth and possibly misshape your piecrust. You may need to sprinkle the work surface and the dough with a little more flour as you work, so it will turn readily.
- Drape the rolled dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Trim off the excess with a paring knife, then use your thumb and forefinger to crimp the edges (or just press them with the tines of a fork).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the crust for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you want it par baked—just lightly set and just starting to color—or you want it a deep golden brown to proceed with a pie that will not be baked again, such as banana cream pie. If the crust’s edges seem to be darkening too quickly while it bakes, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil.
I followed the recipe exactly including putting the buttermilk in the freezer for 10 minutes to make sure it was truly ice cold. I used her substitution of 2 Tablespoons of shortening in place of 2 of the Tablespoons of butter to make the dough even flakier. Even after all this my dough was very crumbly. I pasted it together as best as I could and put it into the fridge to chill. When my hour was up I took it out and very carefully rolled it out. It did break apart slightly, but I mushed it back together with a little water on my finger.
Best Buttermilk Pie
Makes 8 servings
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Buttermilk Piecrust, baked for 8 to 10 minutes and cooled
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Blend the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cornmeal in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk, melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Set the piecrust on a baking sheet and pour in the filling. Bake for 60-75 minutes, watching it closely after the 1-hour mark, until the outside edges are set and the center has just a hint of jiggle. Let cool completely before serving.
(For a Buttermilk Maple Pie, cut the vanilla to ½ teaspoon, cut the brown sugar to ¾ cup, and add ½ cup real maple syrup to the filling mixture.)
This part of the recipe went together simply, not too many ways to mess this up. I’m glad I used a deep dish pie pan because the filling went right up to the top of the piecrust.
I decorated the top with a powdered sugar heart and some blueberries to make it look fancy for my family.
My kids loved it, my seven year old even said it was the best pie he’s ever had in his life, although I have to admit the crust was tougher than I like. I think next time I will stick with the store bought crust with the buttermilk filling.