I’ve been waiting for a while for just the right moment to post about this recipe. #PieDay seems like an appropriate time, donchathink? This custard-like, fragrant concoction is a Southern staple, and I’d heard about it for years, although my mother didn’t make this kind of sweet really ever. For all the desserts I’ve made, I’d also never tried my hand at this one until Nicole Taylor (aka Food Culturist) asked if I’d recipe test it for her Up South Cookbook last year. Now, I’m hooked on it and can think of all sorts of events at which it would be perfect to bring to the table.
Buttermilk Pie in tart form
The original pie in the photo that leads off this post found an audience at a shiva for a friend’s father. The creamy, cool interior and flakey crust was admired and devoured by the assembled guests. The photo at the top of this paragraph was a bit of a re-creation on my part. For the annual #PieParty that is put together by a couple of fellow NYC food bloggers, I swapped out the pie plate for a tart pan and let it cook a tiny bit longer for some more color and a brûlée effect. One of the chefs at our host location, the Institute of Culinary Education, happily consumed the few leftovers that remained, calling it one of the best baked goods he’d ever eaten.
For my next cooking adventure with this recipe, I think I’m going to morph it even more and make tartelettes. I have this great Nordic Ware pan that I’ve used to make mini crostate that I think will work out really well. Nicole includes the pie crust recipe as well in her cookbook; it’s one that is super easy to pull together. I’ll likely double that and make one batch of the filling, with its scent of cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla that casts a lovely, warming perfume as it bakes. That way, more guests can enjoy this taste of the South and of the regional hospitality that goes along with a slice of pie.
Kitchen Witch Tip:
Use the best-quality, full-fat buttermilk in this recipe. It is so worth the end result to spend that bit of extra time and money to track it down. In the NYC area, you can find Five Acre Farms products or visit the Union Square Greenmarket and pick up some from Tonje’s Farm Dairy.