It was 1992, and I had been in college (the first time) for a year. I was newly engaged that August, and I talked my now-ex into taking me to the 100th Anniversary of Peter Illyitch Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. I love the ballet anyway, but the prospect of going to that particular production, even in Corpus Christi, Texas, was very exciting. He agreed (this was back when he was still being charming and romantic to me), and we both dressed up, went to a nice dinner and went to the show.
Since it was the 100th Anniversary, there were tables of anniversary merchandise available to purchase. T-shirts, CDs, cassettes, coffee mugs and what he eventually bought for me: cookbooks. There were two sets — the dessert cookbook with the cassette of the Nutcracker music and the cookbook with the CD. We bought the CD, and since he’d bought it for me, I’m still in possession of it after the divorce. I hadn’t made anything from it, but he always made the buttermilk pie from it. See, all of the recipes in the book come from hotels, restaurants or bed and breakfast inns. So many sound rich and luscious, and there’s even a section toward the back for “lighter” desserts, all of which sound delicious. Now that I’m cooking more myself, now that I’ve made the kitchen my own domain, I see myself using this cookbook quite a bit.
Tonight, for my gaming session/group (I play tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, Heroes Unlimited, etc), I made the chipotle lime chicken with rice and salad and for dessert (because I had leftover buttermilk from making a cake last week for my brother’s wedding and needed to use that up), I made the Oak Valley Plantation’s buttermilk pie, which turned out amazingly easy.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp cold water (I think I used closer to 6 just to make sure the dough was wet enough)
With a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour and salt until crumbly. Sprinkle in the water and mix with a fork, then press together in a ball. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
The pie mat featured in the third photo is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. My mother had one that was plastic, but it was harder to roll up. The one I bought from Kitchen Collection is silicon, is EASY to clean and dry and rolls up very small, which makes storage easier. And they’re just a great idea anyway because when you’re making pie dough, you need to put down a little flour onto your rolling surface to make the process of rolling out the dough that much smoother, and this way, with the pie mat, once you’re through, you don’t have flour all over your actual counters and you merely carry the mat to the sink and clean it off without so much of a mess. This is great for someone like me who cleans up the cooking mess while I cook to have less mess when the finished product is done.
One 9 inch pie crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 2/3 cups plus 1 tbsp raw sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare the pastry dough and line a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges and prick the bottom with fork. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are a light lemon color.
Add the butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and buttermilk and blend well.
Pour into the pie shell and bake in the heated oven for about 1 1/2 hours (mine was through in an hour), or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with cinnamon and let cool completely.
I have to admit that when my ex used to make this pie, I was somewhat ‘meh’ about it. Don’t get me wrong. It tasted good, but I used to think it was a bit sweet for my taste. Tonight, when I made my first buttermilk pie, I was not just excited but actually craving the taste of it. I think I liked this pie the best because I made it and felt very accomplished by doing it.