This week’s Saturday Sweets is dedicated to the SWEETEST woman I’ve ever known – my grandma! She passed away last week after living 86 years of a wonderful life. While I’m incredibly heartbroken, I’ve found comfort in raiding her recipe box and making one of her favorite recipes to share with you.
I’ve always said I was blessed with my grandpa’s pretty hazel eyes and my grandma’s sweet tooth. Some of my first memories took place in my grandma’s kitchen making brownies – even when I was too little to reach the counter she was prepared with a mixing bowl and a spoon for me on the floor so I was sure to never miss a beat. As I got older and we would often go out to eat, she would remind me during our entrees to slow down if I was getting full. In her words, “you can always box that up and take it home – you HAVE leave room for dessert!”
There’s something extra special about handwritten recipes on index cards faded with splashes of ingredients and love. This buttermilk pie is an old family recipe that I remember eating countless times as a kid. They say it came from the kitchen of a famous chef many generations ago, but no one is really sure of its origin. Either way it is simple and delicious. The best part is a baker of any skillset (or even lacking skills) can handle this recipe! Grandma’s recipe card is VERY condensed when it comes to the directions: “Fold in egg whites last” is as far as it goes – but don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you! Another fun fact: this recipe makes TWO pies! One for you and one to share, or not….
· 2 sticks butter, melted
· 3 cups sugar (I know it sounds like a lot, but remember it’s two pies!)
· 2 heaping tablespoons flour (love the word heaping – 3 tbsp is more accurate)
· 2 teaspoons vanilla
· 2 cups buttermilk**
· 7 eggs, separated
· Preheat the oven to 350°F
· Cream together melted butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy – I’d say 3-4 minutes is best
· Add vanilla and egg yolks, beat until combined
· Add flour, you want it to just barely thicken the batter – this is going to be a runnier batter than would you expect
· Reduce speed on mixer to low and slowly add buttermilk, be careful – sometimes I get overzealous and end up wearing some of the buttermilk!
· Once everything is fully incorporated, fold egg whites in by hand until just mixed
· Pour pie mixture evenly into two pie pans and bake for according to grandma “almost an hour”
· I usually check on my pies around the 48 minute mark, you want to make sure it doesn’t jiggle in the center
· Let cool and enjoy!
**Make your own buttermilk hack: I rarely buy buttermilk even though I use it fairly often in pancakes, cookies, or even sweeter pasta dishes, but it’s nice to know how to make it at home with a few ingredients most people already have. To make it at home, add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for each cup of milk and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. When it's slightly thickened, it's ready to use. It won't be quite as thick or tangy as the store-bought kind, but it makes a perfect substitute.
Buttermilk pie is an old school simple recipe. I’ve enjoyed playing around with it and adding toppings or extras into the batter. Chocolate, strawberries, and whipped cream are a favorite! Shredded coconut mixed into the batter and maybe even a little coconut milk would be a winning addition to this recipe as well.
I’ll make this recipe a million more times and in a million more ways, but every time I’ll think of my grandma and her sweet smile and love of desserts. She will always be credited as the one who taught me to obsess over desserts as much as I do. I’ll never look at a dessert menu without thinking about what she would order from it and I’ll think of her on the nights that I choose to have ice cream for dinner. I know it would make her proud and I like to think she’s going to love every week of Saturday Sweets that I’ll continue to bring you guys! Have fun making this pie and remember to always, always leave room for dessert!