HALLIE EPHRON: I love buttermilk. It's liquid sour cream without the guilt.
My first encounter with real buttermilk was at Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery on Houston Street in Manhattan. The place still there, though I don't know if their fabulous knishes and the buttermilk still come up from the basement in a dumb waiter. The combination of that sweet/savory knish with the tang of buttermilk is unbeatable.
Low fat that tastes incredibly creamy and rich. On Sunday, there was an article in the New York Times all about Kate's, an outfit that produces butter from an operation in a garage in Orchard Beach, Maine.
The article said: "Kate’s produces more than a million pounds of butter a year, all from
the same tiny garage. And last year, the company became the first
large-scale bottler of a dairy product that has almost disappeared from
American tables: real buttermilk, the creamy liquid that remains in the
churn after the butter comes together."
When I was going off on Facebook about how I love buttermilk and where oh where can I find Kate's buttermilk (turns out right around the corner at my local Shaw's), author Sharon Short, author of the wonderful forthcoming novel, "My One Square Inch of Alaska" (coming out in January; now available for pre-order in both
print and as an e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound), piped up and asked if I wanted her buttermilk pie recipe.
She didn't have to ask twice. Here's Sharon:
SHARON SHORT: OK, here's the story behind the recipe. We used to have a grocery called
"Woody's" in our area that also featured the Over the Road Restaurant.
It was called that because it was literally built in a walkway over the
road between the grocery's parking lot and the grocery, so one could
have lunch/dinner and look through the big windows down on the traffic
The food was good-home-cooking--hot shots, meat loaf,
friend chicken, and all manner of pies, including buttermilk. This was
the first and only place I've ever seen buttermilk pie on the menu.
Tried it, fell in love with it. (Sweet but tangy, like buttermilk...
although I do not like buttermilk to drink!) Alas, the restaurant and
grocery went out of business and were torn down.
I searched and
searched for a buttermilk pie recipe (this was back in the mid-to-late
1990s before AllRecipes.com!) and I could find one, but I found some
sugar pie and custard pie recipes, and experimented with modifying until
I came up with the following buttermilk pie recipe. So, I guess we
could call it Sharon's Buttermilk Pie. It's easy to make, so we could
even call it Sharon's Short & Sweet Buttermilk Pie. (Ha!)
am a lover of pie, especially diner pies, and Dot's Corner Cafe is a
diner important to the story of MY ONE SQUARE INCH OF ALASKA.
Sharon's Short & Sweet Buttermilk Pie
1 unbaked pie shell
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
Combine sugar and flour. Add beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted butter,
and vanilla extract. Beat together (by hand or with mixer) until smooth.
Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350-degrees (F) for
35 minutes, or until pie filling is firm like a pudding/creme pie.
(Protect pie crust rim with aluminum foil near end if needed.) Let pie
cool and set before slicing. Yummy as is or topped with blackberries,
raspberries or strawberries.
HALLIE: Does that look easy or what? I'm off to Shaw's to buy real buttermilk, because all the rest of the ingredients I already have. And some little alpine strawberries from my garden. Mmmm.
Do you have a relationship with buttermilk or any other old-timey ingredient that's hard to get?