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Southern buttermilk pie has a smooth, velvety texture and the perfect blend of sweet and tangy flavors. This classic Southern dessert is simple to create, easy to make ahead, and sure to please. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream for a scrumptious treat!
Today’s recipe for buttermilk pie makes a satiny smooth dessert with a flavor profile that is a little sweet, a little sour, and oh-so-delicious. This simple dessert has roots all the way back to Colonial America, where enterprising cooks were working with what they had available — often in surprisingly tasty ways!
In case you don’t know, buttermilk is a byproduct of butter production. Early settlers in the Southeast (usually farmers) quickly saw the value of this nutrient-dense liquid and began incorporating it into recipes. Recipes like this buttermilk pie recipe quickly caught on, and today they are enjoyed all over the country.
Table of Contents
- Pie Crust – If you want to make your own crust, check out my Pecan Pie recipe for instructions. Otherwise, a frozen pie crust will work just fine.
- Butter – Gives the dessert a buttery richness. Be sure to have the butter at room temperature before starting.
- Sugar – Sweetens the recipe and balances the tangy flavor of buttermilk.
- Flour – Regular, all-purpose flour is all you need.
- Eggs – Add richness and help hold the pie filling together.
- Buttermilk – The star player in this recipe, buttermilk gives the pie its creamy, custard-like texture as well as its signature tanginess.
- Lemon Juice – Adds a brightening dash of sour citrus flavor.
- Vanilla – Adds an earthy sweetness that enhances and harmonizes the other flavors.
- Topping – A simple cinnamon sugar topping adds the final touch of warmth and sweetness.
Uses for Buttermilk
Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient in home cooking. Its tangy, acidic nature makes it a fantastic addition to a variety of dishes. In baking, it contributes to moist, tender textures in cakes, muffins, and biscuits. It’s a key player in classic Southern fried chicken, as a buttermilk soak imparts flavor and tenderness to the meat. Buttermilk can also be used in salad dressings, smoothies, and marinades, enhancing flavor and creaminess while adding a delightful tangy twist to your culinary creations.
- Prepare to Bake. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer your pie crust to a 9-inch pie pan, pinching the edges. Do not prebake the crust. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.
- Make the Filling. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the flour, eggs, and salt, beating again to combine. Next add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla, and stir to incorporate. The mixture will look curdled, so don’t be alarmed.
- Bake the Pie. Transfer the filling into the pie crust and place the pan on the center rack of your oven. Bake for 55 minutes. You want the top of the pie to be fluffed up and golden brown.
- Turn Off the Heat. Open the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the pie to cool and set in the warm oven for 5 minutes. The top will evenly deflate, and the filling may be slightly jiggly.
- Sprinkle on Topping. After that, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Let the pie cool completely before diving in. Serve alone or with whipped cream.
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Both are incredibly popular desserts from the American Southeast with a few key differences.
For starters, chess pie may or may not contain buttermilk. It can get its tangy flavor from vinegar or lemon juice mixed with milk. Chess pie also contains cornmeal in the filling, giving it a firmer, grainy texture with a subtle crunch.
Buttermilk pie, on the other hand, contains real buttermilk as its signature ingredient and has no cornmeal. It is known for its creamy, custard-like texture and delightfully tangy flavor.
Definitely! This buttermilk pie recipe is actually even better after it has had time to cool and set.
Once the pie is cooked and cooled, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly, then stash it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The pie is tasty when chilled but, if desired, take it out 15-30 minutes before you want to serve and let it come to room temperature.
Freezing your pie is also an option. Simply cool completely, wrap tightly, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The first and most obvious question when your pie comes out runny is: Did you cook it long enough? Make sure that your oven is properly calibrated and preheated, and that you keep the pie baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Jiggly is fine, but runny is no good.
Secondly, make sure to let the pie cool completely. It will thicken and set quite a bit as it cools, so have a bit of patience.
Make sure that all your ingredients are properly measured and that any cold ingredients have been brought up to room temperature before mixing. Avoid overmixing as well. Being too rough with the batter will affect the consistency and can lead to runniness.
And finally, make sure that you choose a thick, high-quality buttermilk. Buttermilk that is too thin is a surefire way to get a runny buttermilk pie!
Southern Buttermilk Pie
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan and pinch edges. Do not pre-bake. In a small bowl mix the Topping cinnamon and sugar, set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour, salt and eggs. Beat again until combined and pour in the buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir to incorporate, mixture will look curdled.
- Pour filling into pie crust and bake on center shelf for 55 minutes and top is puffed and golden. Open the oven door and turn off heat. The pie filling should deflate evenly and may be slightly jiggly. It will set as it cools.
- Remove from oven after 5 minutes and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top. let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream, optional.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.