Buttermilk Pie with Booze
It’s not the prettiest thing, but it is sweet and will make you smile. I’m not referring to your friend’s newest grandbaby. We’re talking pie: Buttermilk Pie with Booze.
The appeal of this pie is its simplicity. Yes, it’s ugly but it is delicious. Certain individuals will appreciate it.
This is the pie for friends who:
- Drink their coffee black.
- Order cheese pizza.
- Peruse all the ice cream flavors, then get vanilla—every time.
Jamocha Almond Fudge people, keep moving along. This is not the pie for you.
I was amazed to learn recently that buttermilk is a fermented drink.
In years past, it was made from the leftover milk that remained after one churned their butter. This milk was allowed to ferment, developing natural probiotics and a tangy flavor. My dad used to drink this when he was growing up in his tiny hometown in Oklahoma.
Most of the buttermilk sold today in the U.S. is cultured buttermilk. This means that a lactic acid bacteria culture is added to pasteurized, homogenized milk. The live cultures ferment the milk to produce commercially-made buttermilk.
Buttermilk is thicker than whole milk and has a slightly acidic tang, similar to yogurt. It is used as an ingredient in biscuits, muffins, pancakes, and quick bread. The lactic acid in the milk activates baking soda, giving these doughs a lift and a tender crumb.
The star of this pie is the buttermilk. I know you are skeptical, but I encourage you to make it once before passing judgment. You will be surprised at how good it is.
Plus, there’s booze.
Booze, hooch, the sauce, nightcap. They are all the same: nicknames for alcohol. Usually, these are referring to distilled spirits but can be applied to alcohol in general.
When you add booze to something that is going to be baked, cooked on a stovetop, grilled, or sauteed, some of the alcohol burns off and evaporates in the heat. Some, not all. After an hour of cooking, about 25 percent of the alcohol still remains in a dish.
If this concerns you because the alcohol doesn’t completely burn off (or because 75 percent of it does), read on.
For a recipe that calls for two tablespoons of hooch like this one does, the finished pie will have about one and a half teaspoons of remaining alcohol. I won’t calculate what each slice contains, but I think it is safe to say you won’t get buzzed by eating a slice of this pie. Or even the whole pie.
The spirit I chose to add was the whiskey I had on hand (Buffalo Trace if you are curious). But you can use whatever hard stuff you have and taste you enjoy. If you don’t like or want to use alcohol, you can just omit it.
- Don’t want to make your own pie dough? Use a purchased pie crust instead. But homemade is worth the extra 15 minutes to pull together, I promise.
- You will want to use real buttermilk for this recipe since it is a key ingredient. In other baked goods, you can get away with a buttermilk substitute (milk plus lemon juice), but that won’t work here.
- Use a regular 9-inch pie pan, not a deep dish one. I made the mistake of making it in a deep dish pan on the first try and the filling was too skimpy.
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup butter, diced
- ¼ cup shortening
- 4 Tbsp cold water
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp whiskey or booze of your choice
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- Make the pie dough by dumping the flour, sugar, salt, butter, and shortening in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or rub in the fats until it is pea-sized and distributed evenly.
- Add the water and mix the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too soft, wrap it tightly and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before rolling it out. Otherwise, lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and flute the edges if desired. Place the pan in the fridge while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F/162 C. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
- Make the filling by lightly beating the eggs by hand with a whisk or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Whisk in the sugar, flour, and salt. Next, add the butter, buttermilk, whiskey, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and nutmeg. Stir everything together until it is incorporated and smooth.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 55 minutes. The center should be set and the top forming a crackly crust. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Your black coffee friends will most likely want to eat it plain.
Keywords: buttermilk pie with booze