Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Four lovely words: Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pie
I have paid homage to Jen the Bakerina before, but I must give her props again. We must be on a similar wavelength lately, because when I post about a couple of my favorite frozen drinks, she goes out and buys a new blender. Then when I have a hankering to make a pie, she posts about a favorite of hers that is now going to be one of mine as well: Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pie!
It's a deceptively simple recipe, but there are pitfalls to be avoided. The first thing you need to do is to track down some parchment paper and pie weights (dried beans will do--or lentils, in my case, as that's all I could find in a pinch), because you must parbake the crust. Then you must be very careful not to pierce the crust or create any other cracks or fissures, or the custard that you eventually pour into it will leak underneath, creating a strange custard-crust-custard strata formation, and all your hard work pre-baking the crust will be for naught. (I found this out the hard way, despite the Bakerina's warnings.) Also, mind your temperatures! I pre-baked the (lined/filled) crust for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then removed the parchment and weights and baked it for another 10-12 minutes at 375 until it was a pale, golden color. But once you pour the custard in, it bakes at 350. Well, I missed that finer point and left the oven at 375, and ended up making my crust too dark, while threatening to turn the custard into scrambled eggs as well! GOOD GRIEF! And lastly, for heaven's sake, don't be tempted as I was to touch the top of the pie to see if it's done, or you'll rip off some of the tender top, leaving an unsightly hole in the middle of an otherwise photogenic pie. ;-) Still, with all of these shortcomings, the pie was just WONDERFUL, so homey (mine was also bit homely!) and unpretentious and just darn tasty! This recipe is definitely a keeper, and one I'll return to again and again. Thanks, Jen!
Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pie
makes 1 9" pie
pie crust of your choice, partially baked
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped (or I like vanilla bean paste from Nielsen-Massey, 2 teaspoons)
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set an oven rack toward the bottom of the oven.
Place the sugar, flour, salt and vanilla seeds in a blender or food processor and process for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and egg yolk and process just until blended. Add the buttermilk and melted butter and process just until blended once more. (Use a spoon or ladle to skim off any foam if you are bothered by little pockmarks on top of your pie!)
Pour the filling into the pie shell, and place the pie on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, carefully rotating halfway through so that it bakes evenly. If the edges begin to brown too quickly, wrap them with foil or use a pie shield. The pie is done when it is still a little wobbly in the center; the residual heat in the pie will continue to cook it after you take it out of the oven. Serve at room temperature or chilled.