Monday, March 14, 2011

Buttermilk Pie for Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! While every day is a food holiday of some sort, one of the very best is Pie/Pi Day, March 14. Get it? Pi, in its most significant digits, is 3.14 so each year 3/14 is the day we punnily celebrate Pi Day with pie!

For this special pie occasion I chose a pie that I've been wanting to try for a long time, Buttermilk Pie, which is an American classic.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The recipe is from One Big Table by Molly O'Neill. This cookbook is packed full of terrific regional dishes from all across the US. I have enjoyed the things I've made from the cookbook and was excited to try another recipe.

- I made a mini pie in 7 pie shell. For the crust I used half a recipe of the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough, which I posted here.

- For the buttermilk filling I used a heaping 1/3 recipe. I've included the recipe, as I adapted it to a mini, below.

- I watched this pie carefully as it was in the oven, and let it bake until the filling was just set. The pie had the most perfect creamy texture, and the top was just turning golden brown.

- To get the recipe's full effect, I made the blackberry sauce but instead of the liqueur in the recipe I used lemon juice to thin the preserves.

the verdict:

I brought this pie to my book group - and was lucky to get a picture before our meeting because it was totally gone by the end of the evening. The pie made quite a stir. One comment: "Oh. THIS is good." The pie was creamy and sweet with just a slight tang from the buttermilk. The tart fruitiness of the blackberry sauce provided the perfect complement to the pie.

the recipe:

Barbara J. Duke's Buttermilk Pie with Blackberry Sauce
Montgomery, Alabama, adapted from One Big Table by Molly O'Neill

Makes one 7" pie (serves 3-4)

For the Crust:

one half recipe of pie crust for single crust pie - I used the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough

For the Pie Filling:

1 jumbo egg, (61g without shell)

1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 ounces buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup highest-quality seedless blackberry preserves
2 teaspoons Chambord liqueur (I used lemon juice)

1. To make the pie: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll out and fit the crust into a 7" pie pan. Beat the eggs slightly in a large bowl. Combine the sugar and flour, add to the eggs, and continue beating until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and mix well. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat well to combine. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 25 minutes or until the custard is set. Cool on a rack.

2. While the pie is baking, make the sauce: Put the preserves in a saucepan and warm on medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the Chambord or lemon juice.

3. Cool to lukewarm and serve over the pie.


Mary said...

Happy Pi Day to you and yours. That pie looks lovely. Allow me to wave my nerd flag proudly...I once won a contest in elementary school for reciting the most digits of I only remember 3.1415blahblah...

Kayte said...

It was fun making this with you...who knew buttermilk pie would grow to be a favorite around here...I've made it three times now as everyone loves it. Love that cookbook, looking forward to the Chicken Tikka with you soon. Oh, and your pie looks stunning! Happy Pi Day!

Unknown said...

Happy Pi Day. Glad the pie was a hit. I actually remembered this year but couldn't motivate myself to make anything. I'll echo Mary's nerd comment for Shane - he knows pi out to like 20 digits...

Abby said...

Happy Pi Day! =) I've never heard of buttermilk pie, but yours sounds and looks so good!

Adam said...

I have wanted to make a buttermilk pie for some time now and after seeing this recipe and your comments I want to more than ever. Other recipes i've seen have a few more ingredients and I'm a 'less is more" person, so I'm quite excited about trying this one.

Di said...

I love your little pie! I still need to make something in my mini pie pan. (Bad timing on my part not being able to eat anything on Pi Day.)

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read the recipe because I don't have buttermilk or preserves on hand but by golly I have an airplane bottle of Chambord! I'm going to have to make this once I round up the other stuff.


mike509 said...

I missed pi/pie day... again. :( But what a great looking pie and crust Nancy! I've always wanted to make a brown sugar pie too.... any good/traditional recipes? Beautiful pie!

Valerie said...

I've never had buttermilk pie, but it sounds really good.

Tia said...

oh wow that looks amazing! thanks for your comment on my blog and i'm so glad you liked my TWD pick - the pecan puffs! looking fwd to seeing your post on Mar 29

Anonymous said...

I'm Angela from Australia and I just found your blog. I can't wait to read all of your posts. Thank you for sharing so much with the world.
I have a question about the recipe - I am not a pie maker at all but thought I would try this one as it is a small quantity and I love buttermilk.
Anyway, the ingredients are a 1/3 quantity, however it seems such a small amount to fit into a 7" pie shell. Does this quantity fit into a very small pie shell eg a 3 or 4" one?
Sorry for such a silly question but I have only made a couple of pies in my life.
Regards from Australia,

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Hi Angela - 1/3 recipe did make a pretty small quantity of filling. I think 1/2 recipe might have been better for that 7" crust - you can see from the picture that it really wasn't very full. I think it could be just the right amount for a 4" crust, if it's pretty deep.