Seems like everywhere I turn, I’m being bombarded with advice on how to stock my pantry. My feeling is, after all these years of cooking for myself and my family, I know what my kitchen should never be without: lemons, chickpeas, heavy whipping cream, parsley, breadcrumbs, and so on.
Buttermilk is not on this list. In my house, buttermilk is recipe-specific, something I buy for a chocolate cake or maybe a spinach tart. The last time I was at the store, however, I tossed it in the cart, just for the fun of it.
At home, I turned to cookbooks I don’t normally use — again, for the fun of it — and settled on Buttermilk Pie. Don’t let the name turn you off. It’s really a lemon pie, though without quite as many eggs as standard lemon pies. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, plus the zest of a whole lemon. Add that to buttermilk, the eggs, sugar, flour and butter and you’ve got yourself dessert.
While you could use traditional flaky pie dough for the crust, I prefer a buckwheat crust. The earthiness of the crust plays well with the pleasantly tart filling. Top it with homemade whipped cream for something that even skeptics will love. (Maybe they’ll be less skeptical if you call it “lemon pie”).
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
1 cup sugar
3 T flour
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
3 T lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
First, make crust. You can either use your own recipe or make the following buckwheat crust: Blend 1/2 cup white flour with 1/2 cup buckwheat flour. Whisk in 1/4 tsp salt. Cut in 1/3 cup butter, then add 2-3 T cold water to form dough. Shape into a disc and set between two large pieces of wax paper. Roll out the crust between the paper, then refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 425. Line pie pan with crust, prick well with fork and bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and make filling. Mix sugar and flour, then add eggs, butter, buttermilk, lemon juice and zest. Stir well then pour into pie shell. Bake 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake 20-30 minutes more. Pie is done when a knife inserted 2 inches from the edge comes out clean.