Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie with Apple Syrup

Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

"Those are the three main old-timey ingredients!," Brent remarked, when I told him I was making a maple bourbon buttermilk pie. Kind of true. And on top of that, it's an ingredient fusion of North and South.

Though buttermilk pie (a plain version here) is generally credited as a Southern pie, it is also prevalent in Yankee traditional cooking and baking. That's mainly because on dairy farms and in farming communities, buttermilk was cheap and readily available, the liquid left behind when butter is made. Today though, most commercial buttermilk is not real. It's made from low-fat or skim-milk that's mixed with bacterial cultures to make it sour, and other additives to make it thick. As you might guess, this artificially-produced buttermilk doesn't taste as good as the real deal. According to Julia Moskin of The New York Times, "Many home cooks keep buttermilk on hand for pancakes, ranch dressing or corn bread. They might know that it makes more tender cakes (because it softens the gluten in flour), loftier biscuits (its acid boosts leaveners like baking soda and baking powder) and thicker dressings (lactic acid in buttermilk gently curdles proteins into a smooth mass)." Now you see why you might want to use the real stuff in a pie?

Classic buttermilk pie is essentially a custard pie (or custy pie), with an extra tang. It's also related to Chess pie--some Chess pie even calls for buttermilk. For this version, adapted from 101 Cookbooksthrow in a dash of bourbon, the barrel-aged whiskey from Kentucky, and maple syrup, the prized natural of many New England states (when I lived in Vermont I learned to put it in everything), and you've got yourself something fit for a table on either side of the Mason-Dixon line.

Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie
Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, halved (I used 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tblsp. brown sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 c. flour
2/3 c. maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
2 c. real buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tblsp. bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
scant 1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
Large grain sugar or pink salt for sprinkling (optional)


1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Place the pan in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon zest, brown sugar, egg yolks, and flour until no lumps remain. Pour in the maple syrup and stir to combine. Then add buttermilk, vanilla, and sea salt, stirring until incorporated.

3. Pour filling into the pie crust and bake about 1 hour, or until filling is set and not wobbly. Remove from oven and let cool, then sprinkle with sugar or salt (I chose salt, surprise surprise). Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature with apple syrup (recipe below). Store in the fridge.

Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

To even it up even more (buttermilk pie is still claimed as Southern, after all), I drizzled a few slices with apple syrup that my friend Marina made on her farm in New York's Hudson Valley. I believe she even pressed the apples herself. Here's the recipe she shared...

Apple Syrup
From my friend Marina of Shoving Leopard Farm

Makes 1 c. apple syrup

7 c. apple cider

1. Marina makes her apple syrup in the shallow maple syrup pans they have on her farm, but you can make yours in a Dutch oven or large stock pot. Pour your cider into the pot and bring to just a boil (cider boils at about 219 degrees F). 

2. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until cider has reduced to about 1 cup, and reached a syrup-like consistence, thickly coating the back of the spoon. You can do this with more or less cider, but in general 7 parts cider yields 1 part syrup. 

Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie with Apple Syrup


Anonymous said...

Your custard pie looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

emily said...

Thank you!!

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