Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie

I’m going crazy cleaning and finishing all the decorations for Baby Evan’s 1st birthday next weekend so I’m a little lacking in the creative department right now. Although I have no aspirations to be the ACTUAL Pioneer Woman, this is my attempt at a PW style recipe post, hence the eighty bazillion pictures. Please to enjoy.

Like I’ve said before (just this week actually) I am not a very good cook. I am, however, a more than decent baker. In fact, I once won first prize at the Ledyard Town Fair for my two crust apple pie and went on to do fairly well in the state-wide competition. Considering I was the only entrant under the age of 50 I’m just pleased I wasn’t last. It helped that I lived in an honest to God apple orchard at the time. Being able to bake with fruit that was still growing just minutes before I peeled it definitely gave me the motivation to really perfect my pie.

Since a regular old two-crust is old news, I’m always on the look out for new apple pie recipes. I recently heard about buttermilk pies and was intrigued. I’ve never been exactly sure what buttermilk is (sour milk? unfinished yogurt?) or what it’s for (biscuits? pancakes?) but when I found this recipe that claimed it turned into CUSTARD I knew I had to try it. CUSTARD is one of the top three things I absolutely cannot resist in a dessert, along with meringue and lemon curd. Oh and graham cracker crusts. Or key limes. And marzipan. Ok, I just REALLY like dessert. But this pie is special. Really special. From the pastry crust to the sugar topping it is delicious and sweet and tart and creamy and SO GOOD I almost divorced my husband when he tried to eat the last piece without sharing.

I highly recommend this pie. Or you could just invite yourself over for dinner and I’ll make it for you.

Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie
Adapted from Cooking Light (and when I say adapted, I mean I made it a lot less “light”)

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
4-5 tablespoons ice cold water

Throw the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Toss in the shortening too and then mash it up with a fork until it’s in little pieces. Don’t mix it TOO well, since the little pieces of shortening in the crust is what makes it flaky. Add cold water about a tablespoon at a time until the dough is sticky enough to hold together. Do most of your mixing with the fork but make sure you test it by squishing it together with your hands or you’ll end up adding too much water.

Sometimes I just make pie crust and eat it without baking a pie. I know it's weird.

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons chilled butter

5 cups sliced peeled apples**
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup granulates sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk***
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Roll out the dough large enough to fit in a 9-inch deep dish**** pie plate. Try not to handle the crust any more than you have to, the less touching you do the better it ends up.

I got this Roulpat mat just this week and it made my pie crust sooooo much easier to roll out. I didn't have to add any extra flour to keep it from sticking so the crust was super flaky.

Fold over the edges and pinch them to make a fluted edge.

I once bought a fancy fluted edge maker. It was crappy. Just use your fingers.

To prepare the streusel, lightly spoon 1/3 cup flour into a measuring cup. Combine the flour, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a fork (or pastry blender, if you’re fancy) until mixture is all mealy. Put it in the fridge.

Try to resist eating all the sugar-butter right out of the bowl.

Preheat over to 325 degrees.

To prepare the filling, heat a large skillet to medium heat and throw in the butter. Add sliced apple, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until apples are tender.

My apples are sliced into little rings like that because I use an apple peeler-corer-slicer that attaches to my countertop. It's an absolute necessity if you plan to make more than one apple pie a year.

Pour into prepared crust.

Mmmmmm....appley goodness.

Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, salt and eggs, stir with a whisk. Add buttermilk and vanilla, and stir a little more.

I had to steal this whisk from the baby. He LOVES whisks. Is that weird?

Pour over apple mixture.

Yikes, that's a full pie!

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce over temperature to 300 degrees (do not remove pie) and sprinkle streusel topping over filling.

Try to sprinkle it around evenly, but it doesn't really matter since all the butter melts anyways.

Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until pie is set. Let stand 1 hour before serving.*****

All puffed up right out of the oven. DON'T EAT IT YET.

*The original recipe suggests using a store-bought crust, which I personally consider just plain un-American. Only communists use store-bought crust. Communists who kick puppies and burn flags and hate freedom and don’t want to find a cure for cancer OR save the whales. But really, my recipe for pie crust is the easiest thing in the world and impossible to do wrong. At least try it before using the crap from a box.

My pie crust/pie recipes - as you can see they've been well loved

**Granny Smith is the most popular pie apple but unfortunately they don’t grow here in New England. When apples are in season I prefer Cortlands or Mutsus. Just try to avoid Macintosh in pies since they cook down really quickly and you end up with mush.

***The “light” version calls for fat-free buttermilk but my grocery store didn’t have fat free (OH DARN) so I used low-fat. I’ve had trouble finding buttermilk at all at some grocery stores so just use whatever you can get.

****My pie plate is NOT “deep” so I just built up the edge of the crust. It still came really really close to overflowing. I recommend using an actual deep-dish plate.

*****NO REALLY, LET IT SIT. If you don’t the custard is all runny and soupy. I KNOW it looks delicious and I KNOW you just baked a whole pie all by yourself and you deserve to eat a huge chunk right now but it will be even better in an hour. For the record, my recipe says “Yields 10 servings”, but I think they’re talking about doll-servings. It yields 8 actual person sized servings, but you’ll probably eat two pieces at a time, so at least try to save some to share later.

OK, NOW you can eat it. Better hurry though, looks like someone else already started.

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6 Responses to “Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie”

  1. sarrible says:

    You can make buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar (white or cider) to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes and you have buttermilk. I’ve never actually bought buttermilk; I just make it with vinegar. That pie looks fantastic.

  2. Other Erin says:

    Buttermilk is the liquid left over when you make butter from cream. So you can always get a mason jar and some heavy cream if you can’t find buttermilk at the store. Bonus: fresh butter.

    I could not agree with you more on the pie crust. Store bought chocolate chip cookies or cookie dough is also Un-American.

  3. Sarah says:

    And you didn’t bring the leftovers to Stroller Strides WHY? You just taunt us with mentioning them and then posting pictures?!

  4. sarrible says:

    Did Erin just advocate actually churning butter? Jesus, woman. There’s fun homemade stuff, and then there’s insanity.

  5. Merin says:

    This looks incredible. I wish I had one for breakfast, especially since my husband just left for biking and I could eat it all myself! I am so impressed that you won a pie contest-that is no small feat in New England!

    Oh, Cora loves the whisk too. We were whisk, spatula and wooden spoon heavy, so we made her a little cooking set. I can’t wait until I can hand her this recipe and tell her to make me this pie!

  6. Denae says:

    So I just stumbled across this post and I am inviting myself to dinner. Also if in a pinch you can add a tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of milk, let sit for 5 minutes and sub for buttermilk.

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