Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pie
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In the dessert difficulty matrix, pies usually fall somewhere between “special occasion moment” and “destined for a Pinterest fail.” But we’d like to make the case that they don’t have to be so intimidating. Start with this surprisingly approachable recipe for vanilla bean buttermilk pie—hello, hands-off crust!—and you’ll understand. It’s from Kardea Brown’s new cookbook, The Way Home, a collection of Lowcountry Southern recipes inspired by her family’s Gullah and Geechee heritage.
Excerptedfrom The Way Home by Kardea Brown and reprinted with permission from Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2022.
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
⅓ cup ice-cold water
1½ cups sugar
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 large eggs, plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (see Note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Whipped cream, for serving
1. Make the Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter forms pea-size pieces. Add the water and continue to pulse until the dough begins to come together.
2. Press the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
3. After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a disk about 11 to 12 inches wide.
4. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, then crimp the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
5. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, eggs, egg yolk, melted butter, vanilla seeds, vanilla extract and salt until well blended.
6. Sprinkle the flour on top and whisk just until incorporated.
7. Remove the pie plate from the fridge. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, then pour the filling over the dough.
8. Bake on the bottom rack until the top of the pie is golden brown and set around the edges and the center has a slight jiggle, 55 minutes to 1 hour. If the crust begins to get too brown but the filling isn’t ready, cover the edges loosely with foil.
9. Cool the pie to room temperature before slicing. Serve with whipped cream.
Note: To scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean, place the bean on a cutting surface. Cut the bean lengthwise using the tip of a paring knife, then scrape the seeds from the inside of the pod using the point or the edge of the knife.