I’ll never forget holidays at my Grandma Thompson’s house. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed, my grandmother would be busy in the kitchen. I kid you not, she would make everyone’s favorite dessert–cake, pies, cookies, you name it she baked it. She had 5 children, all married with kids. There were a lot of people and a lot of favorites, but she managed to please us all. Looking back, I can see where I get my love of hosting and cooking from. My grandmother cooked much like I do, throwing ingredients together without a recipe. For years no one knew how she made many of her recipes because they were all in her head. Luckily my Aunt had the good sense to follow her around and write down my grandmother’s now famous (to us) recipes. For me it’s really important to carry on her sweet legacy, because my grandmother suffered for many years with Alzheimer’s Disease before passing away. By sharing her recipes, I keep her memory alive and I know seeing me cook and bake now would bring the greatest joy to her heart.
All sentiments aside, I hope you are ready for this life changing pie. I grew up watching my grandmother make it and then my mother started making it during the holidays, and now I get the joy of making it too. I’ll start by saying, it’s not healthy. Pie isn’t meant to be healthy but it’s also not meant to be eaten everyday (though my husband would argue that is not true). Everything in moderation…well, except when it comes to this pie, which my father, brothers, and husband would gladly sit down and eat an entire one to themselves.
This pie is a fun unique flavor to bring to your holiday gathering. I love it’s out of the box textures too. My favorite thing is to watch someone take a tiny sliver to “try” it and then watch them come back for second leaving with a much larger portion of course. It’s safe to say some would call this pie addicting.
It’s hard to describe a buttermilk pie, my best effort is to say this, if you like custard, creme brulee, or puddings, you will love this pie. It’s got a crispy crust with a creamy, sweet, gooey middle and is topped with a light, perfectly browned meringue. My grandmothers crusts are basically impossible to replicate in gluten free form, but I make my best efforts with this version. Pie crusts may seem intimidating but they are actually pretty simple. The key is to not overwork the dough. This pie of course can be made with a standard pie crust, or to make it super easy, the filling and meringue can be paired with a crust from the refrigerated or frozen section. Just pour the mixture into the thawed crust and bake.
It’s hard to describe a buttermilk pie, my best effort is to say this, if you like custard, creme brulee, or puddings, you will love this pie. It’s got a crispy crust with a creamy, sweet, gooey middle and is topped with a light, perfectly browned meringue.
Crust (makes two pie crusts**):
- 2 c gluten free Namaste Flour + more for surfaces
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ c (8 tbsp) chilled butter, grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ⅔ c cold water, added slowly by tbsp
- ½ c butter, softened
- 1 ½ c sugar
- 3 egg yolks + 1 egg
- 2 tbsp organic cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ c buttermilk
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar (optional)
- Measure the flour into a large bowl. Whisk the salt and sugar into the gluten free flour.
- Grate chilled butter then gently toss the shredded butter into the flour mix until it is evenly distributed throughout.
- Add the beaten egg, gently work it in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Do not overwork.
Add cold water one tablespoon at a time, working it in by hand until a moist, crum dough forms. The crumbles should compress in shape and stick when squeezed together. If it gets a little too sticky or wet, just add a bit more flour.
Shape the dough into a large ball. Cut the ball in half, set one half to the side. Place one dough ball onto a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with additional gluten free all purpose flour mix. Press with your hand to make a flat circle.
- Sprinkle a small amount of gluten free flour mix over then covering with another sheet of parchment paper.
- Roll out dough into a circle that’s about 2” wider then your pie pan.
Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment. Pick up the rolled pie crust by the under layer or parchment, center it over the pie plate, and flip it into your pan.
- Slowly pull the bottom layer of parchment off of the pie crust. If the crust breaks apart at any point just pinch the dough back together in those spots.
- Preheat oven to 350 degree.
- With a mixer, combine sugar and softened butter.
- Seperate your 3 egg yolks from their whites, set white aside.
- Add yolks, and 1 egg to sugar/butter mixture, mix until well combined.
- Add vanilla, buttermilk, and cornstarch and mixed on medium for 2 minutes.
- Pour mixture into your pie crust and COVER crust edges with foil or pie crust covers.
- Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out smooth. Should not be liquidy, but firm like a custard.
- Let cool before adding meringue.
- Once your pie has cooled completely, turn your oven on broil.
- Whisk your egg whites in a heavy duty mixer with 2 tbsp powdered sugar until stiff peaks form about 4 minutes. Gently pour your whisked whites onto your pie and evenly spread with spatula. You can create peaks or leave it smooth, then place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until golden brown color forms (be sure to WATCH, this can over brown very quickly!).
This filling & meringue works great in a premade, uncooked crust of any kind. I still recommend covering your pie crust with foil before baking. These are my favorite gluten free pre-made crusts: wholely wholesome.
**Wrap second pie crust in plastic wrap and then store in an airtight contain in the freezer for up to 5 months. Great for quiche or a second buttermilk pie.