Just Half a Slice Please... The Top Half!: Buttermilk Pie

The next recipe on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule is the "Peaches and Dream Pie" (post forthcoming this weekend), and it uses the same "Classic Pie Dough" recipe from Baked Explorations as the blackberry pie I recently baked.  The only hiccup is that the pie dough recipe yields enough dough for either one double-crust pie or two single-crust pies.  Since the peaches and dream pie is a single-crust pie, I was going to have to some dough left over... So I decided to make another pie from the cookbook.  There were only two other single-crust choices: "Buttermilk Pie (with a hint of maple syrup)" and "Sawdust Pie."  I decided to try the buttermilk pie.

I had never ever heard of a buttermilk pie before; the cookbook explains that it is essentially a custard thrown into a pie shell and supposedly of Texas origin.  This recipe includes maple syrup and is a sort of hybrid between a traditional buttermilk pie and a Canadian maple pie.  It is very easy to make.  After rolling out the pie crust, crimping it, and stashing the crust in the freezer until it's firm, all you have to do it pour in a filling made from eggs, flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, and maple syrup.  You are supposed to sprinkle a half teaspoon of flour into the pie crust before pouring in the filling, but I accidentally forgot this step.  You are also supposed to sprinkle another half teaspoon of flour onto the top of the custard before baking.  I did this, but the flour ended up in little clumps.  You bake the pie for an hour, until the custard is set. 

I thought this pie looked pretty good when I took it out of the oven, especially because I had low expectations.  The cookbook says, "I should warn you ahead of time that this pie, with its pale dough and brownish filling, would not win any beauty pageants."  The only problem I saw was some uncooked clumps of flour (remnants from my pre-bake sprinkle) on top of the custard, but I simply waited for the pie to cool and then dusted them off with a pastry brush.  

The pie turned out to be significantly undercooked.  When I took it out of the oven, I inserted a knife to test the doneness of the custard, and it appeared to be completely set.  But as you can see in the picture above, the bottom layer of custard was not entirely set (that slightly yellow layer right above the bottom crust is undercooked custard).  Also, the bottom crust was completely undercooked.  However, I did enjoy the top half of the pie that had nicely set custard and a properly cooked crust.  To me, the flavor of the custard filling was very reminiscent of flan -- eggy and milky, with the maple syrup giving a touch of intense sweetness and flavor much like the caramel component of flan.  The maple also gives this pie a definite autumn/winter feel -- not a particularly apt choice for D.C. in the middle of summer.  If not for the undercooked bottom crust and custard problem, this would have been a very nice pie.  But I'm not sure if I liked it enough to give it another try.

Recipe: "Buttermilk Pie (with a hint of maple syrup)," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


Sheri said…
It looks delicious! I love buttermilk pie.

While Seattle Pastry Girl is offline (hoping everything is okay with her), there's a temporary facebook group to post our entries at http://on.fb.me/nKeKQd. Could you help spread the word?
Louise said…
I think it's a shame that it ruined an otherwise really nice crust. I've been hungry for Coconut Custard Pie and I'm going to try this pastry recipe when I make it.
Elaine said…
It sure looks pretty, but I am sorry that it came out undercooked and that you didn't like it enough to try making it again.
I cooked mine an additional 20 minutes and still felt like I could have gone a little longer.