I love NYC, but I’m a Southern girl… born in Texas, moved to Louisiana at 2 years old. So I’m really more Louisianan than Texan but southern none the less… Deep southern.
My childhood was not the typical southern girl. My parents are both very liberal and I was raised to be as creative as I could be and to use my imagination as much as possible. Dancing, singing, making up musicals about fairies and princesses, that was my life for the majority of my childhood.
As liberal and creative as I am… I LOVE tradition and history. Really, “old” anything interests me, but the history of places anywhere south of the Mason Dixon… are so rich and so NOT what you might think they are it’s hard not to be enthralled. I love to read stories about the old south (the good and the mostly bad, I read Gone With The Wind cover to cover in the 6th grade) and its history and food traditions. I also love little southern things that my family did or cooked growing up. Certain smells and images bring me back to being a little girl waiting for whatever it was to come off the stove or out of the oven so that I could demolish it.
One of the things that brings me comfort to remember are the times my dad cooked. Like I’ve said before, my dad cooked most in the house. To me, it seemed like he could make anything. Sometimes I would get home from ballet class and there would be Red Beans and Rice on the stove that he had been cooking for hours. Or there would be boudin that he had just gotten that he was making for us. Then there was the times he would be frying catfish in cornmeal… MY FAVE!!!!!
Then there was the days he baked. Now… my dad was not really a baker. The only things I can ever remember him baking were boxed German Chocolate cake, sweet potato pie and Buttermilk pie. Those were his trinity.
I remember loving the German Chocolate cake (who doesn’t love boxed cake) and the sweet potato pie… He made a REALLY good one… but the buttermilk pie was not always my favorite. It just seemed like an adult pie. No chocolate, no whipped cream… just buttermilk and sugar. Like, why??? Who would eat that?? Not at all interesting. But, in full disclosure, I honestly never really gave it a chance. I’m a lil hard headed and was immediately like…NOPE…
Buttermilk pie is a southern staple. Every family has its own buttermilk pie recipe. It’s easy to whip up at the last-minute if you already have buttermilk on hand. And NO… It doesn’t taste anything like buttermilk. The buttermilk in the pie adds a slightly tangy flavor to the custard but that’s it. It’s not overly sweet, which is why maybe I didn’t give it a chance as a kid. I mean, pie should be UBER sweet!!! No??? Well, in the mind of a 10-year-old yes. But I do remember it not being at all as sweet as I wanted and I didn’t appreciate the custard like filling.
Even though I didn’t remember the Buttermilk pie fondly, I had a craving for it a couple of days ago. Sometimes I get a little homesick for the south and start to cling to things that remind me of home. I had never made my own before but I vividly remember my dad making it. And I also knew that it couldn’t be that technically hard because he used to make one in an hour or so. I just remember him throwing all the ingredients into a bowl and pouring the filling into a store-bought crust. I could ask him for his recipe but, I already know he doesn’t have one… In true old school fashion. I think he just did it from memories of his mom in the kitchen (I’ve heard she was an AMAZING baker, I never got a chance to know that. She passed away from cancer when I was around 5 years old. I’m told I’m a lot like her though. And I wear that badge proudly!)
So with no real recipe I experimented. It only took 2 tries before I came up with something that tastes almost exactly how I remember it tasting!! Store bought crust and all… After all… gotta keep it authentic!
The first pie tasted AMAZING…but it was super greasy with butter and a soggy crust. I figured out the problem rather quickly… Not enough eggs and oven not hot enough!! That made me grumpy.
But pie #2??? That was the one. Pretty as a picture and YUM to the MMMY!! I definitely appreciate the flavor more as an adult. Sweet but not too sweet. It would be great with some coffee or tea.
So… In honor of my Poppa Bear… here is the recipe. I hope it conjures up as many good old-school memories for you as it did for me.
Southern Buttermilk Pie
1 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 Large Eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Dash of Nutmeg
1 Store bought pie crust (or use your own crust recipe)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put pie crust into 9 inch, deep dish pie plate.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add the eggs and stir til combined.
Add the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice, salt and nutmeg. Mix until just combined.
Pour pie filling into pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Lower heat to 350 and bake an additional 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top of your pie is golden brown and caramelized.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.