Buttermilk Pie. Ah, a Southern treat. This pie comes from my Dad’s side of the family. He grew up in Oklahoma and still has roots there. Most Thanksgivings that I remember include this amazing pie. It’s rich, creamy, custardy, and sweet. I was a little intimidated to make this pie for the first time without coaching from my Dad, but I successfully made it! And I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually was.
This handy, dandy, photo collage breaks the steps down for you. Match the numbers on the pictures with the descriptions below.
1. Whip the shortening, boiling water, and milk together until it looks like whipped cream. This was best achieved with the whisk attachment and a couple minutes of beating in my stand mixer. A hand mixer would work fine too.
2. Add the flour and salt mixture to the shortening combination. Stir with a fork until it forms uniform crumbs.
3. Squish the crumbs in your hand to form two balls of dough that are equal in size. Just keep squishing and adding crumbs and squishing again. It’s like magic how it sticks together!
4. Place one ball of dough between two sheets of waxed paper. If you don’t have wax paper, you can improvise. I had a silicone mat on the bottom and plastic wrap on top. Waxed paper works better.
5. See how the dough cracks when you press it in picture 4? If you keep pressing and rolling, it actually sticks back together. Amazing. Keep rolling until your crust is circular, thin, and slightly bigger than your pie pan. I like to place the pie pan upside down on the dough to see if my circle is the right size. You want it pretty close with a little excess on the edges to make up for the depth.
6. Remove the top layer of wax paper (or plastic wrap), put the pie pan upside down on top of the crust, slide your hand underneath between the wax paper and the counter, press your right palm into the bottom of the pan, and with your left hand on top of the bottom of the pie pan, quickly but gently flip everything over to right side up. Peel the top layer of paper off the crust carefully so you don’t break the crust.
7. Press the dough into the pie pan and shape the edges. If you have issues like me, and your dough falls apart a little, don’t worry, just piece it back together. Press the pieces of dough together until smooth. It’ll bake just fine and yield a delicate, flaky crust.
8. Gently mix the filling together.
9. Pour the filling equally into the pie crusts. The crust and the filling bake together, so the filling goes into a raw crust. It helps if you have two pie pans that are the same size…
Bake for 35-45 minutes, and viola! Buttermilk Pie.
The crust is very delicate, light, and flaky, and complements the filling perfectly. As you can see from the photo, the filling is somewhat of a custard texture, but not a thick and smooth Flan type custard. Closer to something like a gooey butter cake or a traditional lemon bar texture.
The sugar caramelizes on top, similar to a creme brulee, and the filling flavor is rich and sweet with a slight tang from the buttermilk. Basically, it’s delicious.
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 Tbsp. milk
- ¾ cup shortening
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- FOR THE PIE SHELLS: Mix boiling water with shortening and milk. Whip it good!! (This should look like whipped cream, best achieved using a beater or stand mixer with whisk.) Mix flour and salt together in a separate bowl, and then add to the shortening mixture. Stir with a fork until nice and uniform in texture.
- Make two dough balls of the same size by pressing dough together and shaping in your hand. Sprinkle flour on a large piece of wax paper and place one of the balls of dough in the center. Sprinkle with tiny bit more flour, cover with wax paper and roll into a circle using a rolling pin.
- Peel back the top wax paper, place pie pan upside down on top of crust, slide hand underneath between the paper and the counter, flip the pan over so the dough ends up in the pan. Peel the top layer of paper off.
- Poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Make sure there are plenty of holes as this helps it from trapping air underneath the crust and bubbling up during baking.
- FOR THE BUTTERMILK FILLING: Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined.
- Crack eggs into a separate bowl and gently whisk until slightly beaten. Butter should be melted in yet another separate bowl. Pour melted butter into the sugar mixture and gently stir. Add beaten eggs into the bowl with the sugar mixture. Stir gently until smooth. Softly add in buttermilk and vanilla. Stir gently to combine.
- Pour filling into two pie shells, dividing equally, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes. Check if done with a knife in center of pie. If it comes out looking clean, clear, and shiny, it is done. If it comes out with a creamy mixture, or lumps of filling sticking to knife, then cook it another 10 minutes. If the crust is darkening too much but the filling is not cooked, you can lower the temperature to 325 degrees. The pie shouldn't really take more than an hour to bake.