Today we visited friends and brought a pie. We almost always bring a pie to them. When my husband talked to Mr. V yesterday, Mr. V hinted that he would like a pie with bright Easter colors.
When I think of Easter colors, I think of pastels – pink, baby blue, spring green, pale yellow – and speckled candy-covered eggs. I considered a Pink Squirrel pie but that would have involved going out and finding a bottle of white crème de Noyaux. The local BevMo doesn’t have it and I didn’t feel up to making dozens of calls to see if any liquor store carried it. Grasshopper Pie would involve a bottle of green crème de menthe, which I would probably never use again.
What I settled on was an old-fashioned buttermilk pie topped with colorful fresh fruit. Buttermilk pie definitely originated long, long ago when buttermilk was produced from the butter-making process, and also as a way to use milk that had soured due to lack of refrigeration. When I was a tyke – dear knows that was in the previous century – this was the kind of dessert that was brought to funerals, church dinners, potlucks, and suchlike farm country social functions.
It’s easy to make and looks beautiful. I found the basic recipe on Epicurious. I have tweaked it a little but it is still simple and delicious.
One note: use good-quality buttermilk. I personally don’t like to drink it, but my husband does, and he says it’s worth paying extra for a good brand. I used Clover-Stornetta, but Berkeley Farms or Producers would be good, as would an organic brand. YMMV.
LEMON BUTTERMILK PIE
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup/ 4 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- grated zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- one unbaked 9″ pie shell
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine sugar and flour and stir to eliminate any lumps. Add the egg yolks and beat to dissolve sugar and flour. Then add melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, zest and juice, salt, and nutmeg; whisk until smooth.
Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and bake another 15 to 25 minutes until filling is set. Remove pie to a rack and let cool at room temperature.
For strawberry topping, hull strawberries and slice in half lengthwise. Arrange on top of cooled filling in an attractive pattern. Warm apricot jam until spreadable, and brush or spoon over the berries.
- Any fresh, soft fruit can be substituted for strawberries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced peaches, sliced bananas, etc.
- Add 1 cup blueberries or raspberries to filling before baking.