Sunday, April 6, 2014

Buttermilk Pie

Spring is slowly--and I stress the word slowly--making its way back into our lives.  This pleases me.  But at the same time I'm a little scared that due to our extreme arctic winter the rhubarb and asparagus are going to be a little late or absent from the party.  I guess there's always Whole Foods... 

Yet, I'm still a little bummed because I bought a couple of new cookbooks with some gift cards I received on Christmas.  By the way, I'm "into" cookbooks now--I wasn't really before.  Normally I scour the internet for recipes and I forget about the many cookbooks that I do have which I think is a misstep on my part.  Cookbooks usually have drool worthy photographs and make nice coffee table pieces.  But they also have some drool worthy recipes.

Anyway...I am a little upset because one of the new books has a chapter for each of the four seasons and although spring is technically here,  most of them are recipes that require spring fruits that aren't.  And I know I could go to the grocery store and buy anything I needed but I have been trying to do all of my produce shopping at the farmers market for the past few years because I think buying locally is a great way to support local farms and businesses.  I also like the idea of using seasonal ingredients as much as possible and shopping at the farmers market is a great way to do just that.  So I do my best to adhere to it.  Pretentious?  Maybe.

But since none of the produce specified in the 'Spring' chapter of this cookbooks is being sold at the farmers market, I did the next most sensible thing which was flipping ahead to the 'Fall' recipes and finding something that didn't require anything I didn't already have on hand.  And what I had on hand was a lot of buttermilk.  A lot of buttermilk that I did not foresee me using for anything else in the near future.  And so in the 'Fall' chapter is a recipe for Buttermilk Pie (why that is considered a Fall dessert is something I don't know but I'll go with it).  I'd never eaten a buttermilk pie and it had a pretty picture so I made it.

The recipe called for some lemon zest and egg yolks along with the buttermilk.  So it actually turned out to be more like a lemon chess pie.  I've never had a lemon chess pie but I've had a chess pie and I imagine that if I combined some lemon and a chess pie this is what it would taste like except the lemon flavor was much more subdued.  Yet, that is the best way to describe it.  It also had a pecan crust which I really hated rolling out but loved the taste.  It was sweet and tasted like a cookie.

This is my filterified night shot!

Pecan Crust:

1c all purpose flour
1/3c pecans
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4" cubes
1 large egg

-In a food processor, combine all of the dry ingredients until the pecans are finely ground
-Add the butter and the egg and pulse just until when pinched it will hold together but does not form a ball
-Drop the dough onto some plastic wrap, form it into a disc, wrap it up tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour
-Roll out the dough on a floured surface, place into a 9" pie plate and trim/fold/crimp excess dough to your liking at the rim of the pie plate.
-Refrigerate dough in pie plate for at least another hour
-After the hour is up, preheat the oven to 400 F
-Line the pie plate with parchment paper and then add some pie weights or dried beans to hold the dough down while blind baking 
-Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment paper and pie weights
-Place pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown
-Remove the pie crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F

*A note about this pie dough:  It tastes great but I found it temperamental to work with/roll out particularly.  It was very sticky and kept coming apart on me so I had to do a little more patching than I would have liked.  So, I would recommend letting the pie crust chill for a lot longer than just 1 hour.  Also I was using my brand new marble rolling pin which may have had a part to play.  Nevertheless I seem to have trouble with pie crust recipes that include an egg anyway so that might have also had something to do with it.


1 1/4c granulated sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
3 large eggs
6 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 1/3c buttermilk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
pecans for garnish (optional)

-Using the food processor again, pulse the sugar and corn starch until combined
-Add everything else and process until well combined
-Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour until filling is set and slightly jiggly in the middle
-Remove from oven, let cool and garnish with powdered sugar, pecans or not 
-Serve at room temperature or chilled

*One final note about making the filling:  I used a 9" pie shell and the filling was too much so I couldn't have used all of it or else it would have over-flowed out of the shell.  Also, if you don't have a food processor you could have easily just whisked everything together in a large bowl.  I do have one and used it but it's a medium-sized one--I think-- (I don't know how big... :-/)  but it wasn't big enough so I ended up transferring it to a large bowl and just whisking until everything was well combined.

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