One more Desperation Pie before spring warms enough to make the rhubarb poke its crinkly top out of the cold ground. This recipe appealed to me because buttermilk is one item I always have on hand.  Not only does it make fantastic bread dough, it’s a must for biscuits, one of my teenager’s favorite foods. It keeps for weeks because of the acidity. If you’re lucky enough to have your own fresh milk from cows or goats, it’s easy to make with commercially available buttermilk.  Mix 1 part buttermilk with 18 parts of fresh milk, cover and let sit undisturbed for 12-18 hours at room temperature (60-70ºF), bottle in glass jars and refrigerate.

This is another of the Desperation Pies in the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. To truly qualify as something made from pantry items on hand, you’d have to use lemon juice and lemon zest from your freezer. Anytime fresh lemons are used around here, the extra zest and juice gets saved in the freezer. Some of that strawberry or raspberry freezer jam you made last summer makes a perfect topping, maybe thinned with a bit of water to make it more sauce-like.

The 7-Up pie crust recipe given here was something new to me, so of course I had to try it.  I substituted butter for the vegetable shortening but you could do half of each. It’s easy to handle and baked up nice and flaky. For other pie crust recipes and more information, see this post.

— Joan, 23 April 2016



  • Servings: Makes one 9-inch pie
  • Print

  • 1 single-crust, blind-baked pie shell (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 lemon, for zesting
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (27 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (242 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine sugar, butter and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed till light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks together and add to the mixer, mixing on low till combined with butter-sugar-zest.

Blend the dry ingredients and add to mixer, mixing on low till combined.  Turn to low speed and slowly pour in the lemon juice and then the buttermilk.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and make sure it’s all mixed together.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites into soft peaks.  Fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter.  Once combined, fold in the remaining whipped egg whites.

Gently pour the batter into the prepared shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes, covering the edge as needed to prevent over-browning.  Pie is done when the top is a dark golden brown and filling is set. Cool at least 2 hours and store in refrigerator.


  • Servings: One single-crust 9-inch pie
  • Print

  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) cold butter, vegetable shortening, or a mix of both, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons cold 7-Up

Mix flour and salt in food processor, add butter and pulse till butter is the size of small peas. Move the mixture into a large bowl, pour in the 7-Up and mix with a fork till incorporated.  Add more 7-Up a tablespoon at a time if the mixture won’t come together. Allow dough to rest at least 20 minutes before rolling out to fit a 9″ pie pan.  Crimp the edges and prick the bottom and sides with a fork.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

While the crust is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place a sheet of parchment paper or foil over the crust, fill almost to the top with pie weights and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and take out the parchment or foil and weights. Turn oven down to 375ºF, return the pan to the oven to bake another 3-5 minutes, until the shell looks dry on the bottom. Let shell cool before filling.


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