Friday, April 27, 2007

Have a Seat

When I announce the name of this week’s pie, you must promise to restrain yourselves, dear readers. We’ll have no frenzy of excitement, no frothing at the mouth, no clawing at the keyboard to print the recipe. Everybody sitting down? Okay, then, hold on. . .

Buttermilk Pie.

April 27c

You think I’m kidding? I’m aware that there are those of you who are right this minute making frowny faces and preparing to turn the page. (Or whatever its digital equivalent.) But I promise you that that would be a big mistake, for this is the perfect recipe – nay, the perfect antidote -- for the tumultuous times we live in. So stay put.

A kissin’ cousin to the custard pie, buttermilk pie entreats you –in a calm and soothing tone – to pull up a chair and sit a spell. It begs to invite your neighbor Earl over, to plug in the percolator, and to settle in for a long chat. Preferably on a wide front porch with a creaky swing and a dog named Buster nearby.

As enticing as Buttermilk Pie sounds (well, at least to some of us), I’ll admit that it’s really nothing fancy. It’s sweet yet tangy, buttery but not rich. If you’re craving white chocolate macadamia caramel decadence with a dollop of crème fraiche and a swirl of raspberry coulis, then scat. You’d not be happy on this porch anyway. Go find a bungee cord to dangle from.

Also related to the New England Chess Pie (“‘jess pie, that’s all”), Buttermilk Pie is an old southern favorite. This is the sort of thing they were probably serving at those lunch counters in the 60’s, with a dash of civil rights on the side.

While we’re on the subject, it just so happens that the King went in search of buttermilk at the local convenience store so that I could make this pie. The store is operated by Turkey Hill, a large Lancaster County dairy producer, and it carries a full line of dairy and ice cream products. So chances are, they’d have buttermilk, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. The clerk looked at the King like he’d worn his crown out in public and then practically snickered at the question. “You must be from the South, huh? Buttermilk, jeez.” (For the record, the King is from the South, albeit Southern California. So jeez yourself, Mr. Turkey Hill Store Clerk. And no, you may not have a piece of pie.)

April 27b

Buttermilk Pie
Adapted from Country Cooking

pastry for a one crust pie
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 T. flour + 1 t. flour
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Roll out pie crust and place in pie plate. (Here, for your viewing pleasure is one of my pretty plates. I collect them, you know. The Queen believes you can never have too many pie plates. Or pies, for that matter.)

April 27a

Lightly beat eggs and add sugar and 2 T. flour. Add melted butter and stir well. Add buttermilk and vanilla, mixing. Sprinkle 1/2 t. flour over bottom of crust. Pour filling into shell and then sprinkle remaining flour on top.
Bake until custard is set, approximately 1 hour.


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