A delicious buttermilk pie that is meant to be shared!
Prep Time: 30minutes
Cook Time: 1hour15minutes
Chilling time: 1hour10minutes
Servings: 8to 10 servings.
Flakiest, all-butter pie crust:
1/2cupwhole spelt (or whole wheat pastry)flour
1/2teaspoonfine sea salt
4ouncescold, unsalted butter, in 1/2" dice(8 tablespoons/1 stick)
2tablespoonsice water, more as needed
Lemon Buttermilk Filling:
zest from 2 medium meyer lemons
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1/4cupmeyer lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
Make the crust:
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand with lots of pea-sized butter chunks. Stir together the buttermilk and ice water. Drizzle this mixture over the flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a rubber spatula, until the dough will hold together when you give it a squeeze, adding more ice water by the teaspoon directly to the dry bits as needed.
You can call it here, or you can do either or both of the steps below for extra flake:
Option 1 - fraisage:
Dump the dough out onto a counter, divide it roughly into 6 portions, and fraisage by dragging a portion of dough across the counter using the heel of your hand. Scrape up the dough (a metal bench scraper works well here), gently press it into a ball and flatten into a disc. Slip it into a plastic bag, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Option 2 - roll, fold, roll:
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a rough square that is about 1/4" thick. Fold it in thirds like you're folding a letter, then roll up from a skinny end into a loose spiral. Gently press to flatten it slightly, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 12" circle, dusting the dough lightly with flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking. Ease the dough into a 9" glass pie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim it to a 1" overhang. Fold the overhang under, and flute the crust by pressing it between the thumb of one hand and the index finger and thumb of the other hand.
Chill the crust for 30 minutes or until solid.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400º. Remove all other racks from the oven.
Place the cold crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Line it with a piece of parchment paper, and fill with pie weights, dry beans, or clean pennies, pressing the weights into the sides and corners of the crust.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until the dough will hold its shape when you lift off the parchment, then remove the weights and parchment and bake until the bottom is dry and lightly golden, about 5 minutes longer. Keep the oven at 400º.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
Place the sugar in a medium bowl. Zest the yellow part of the lemons' peel directly into the sugar to catch all the oils. Slit the vanilla bean down the center and use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds, and add them to the sugar. Rub the sugar with your fingertips until it feels damp and slightly clumpy.
Whisk the flour and salt into the sugar until no floury lumps remain, then whisk in the eggs and yolks until smooth; whisk gently to avoid incorporating excess air into the batter.
Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, then the cream and lemon juice until smooth.
If your pie crust has cooled, return it to the oven for about 5 minutes to get it hot. With the par-baked crust still in the oven, carefully but quickly pour the filling into the crust. Close the oven door and decrease the oven temperature to 325º.
Bake the pie at 325º until just set, about 55 minutes. It will be puffed all over, and will barely wiggle when you give it a shake. Cool the pie completely, about 2 hours, then serve at room temperature or chill (chilling will give you cleaner slices).
The pie is best at room temperature shortly after cooling, but store extras in the fridge; they will keep well for up to 3 days.
This pie is at its peak the day it is baked, when served at a cool room temperature.The crust needs several bouts of chilling, and one of par-baking, but any or all of these steps can be done ahead.Once the crust is ready, the filling takes just a few minutes to whisk together, an hour to bake, and about 2 hours to cool fully. Chilling the pie will give you cleaner slices, but I like the flavors and textures best at room temperature.This pie is excellent on its own, but you can dress up plates with berries, whipped cream, slices of blood orange and/or a drizzle of blood orange reduction.You can make the pie dough in a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, on low speed if you prefer. If you go to the trouble of giving the dough the fraisage and extra folds, which make it flaky almost to the point of puff pastry, I would recommend making a double batch.(See this post on making puff pastry for photos of the fraisage/rolling/folding process.). The extra portion of dough can be kept, double-wrapped, in the freezer for up to a couple of months. (Defrost in the fridge overnight, then roll it out and proceed with any single-crust pie recipe.)Save your vanilla pod to stick in a jar of sugar, or to add to an ice cream or pudding recipe. If you lack vanilla bean, whisk in a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract with the lemon juice.The baking instructions here are different than that of most custards. The acids in the buttermilk seem to prevent the custard from setting the way others do, so you must bake this pie longer, until puffed all over and just set when you give it a shake.Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.