Buttermilk Pie

I thought I didn’t have much to much to say about this pie. On paper it looks bit boring. Eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and buttermilk. But you bake it, and damn. With good, thick, tangy buttermilk the filling bakes up firm and dense like a good cheesecake. It’s flavor isn't bold like lemon curd, but it has complexity. By itself, the pie is delicious, but with a handful of fresh berries folded in, you'd have a champion.

This is straight from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. Most of the recipes I looked at track pretty closely to this one, but this one uses more yolks and butter. More fat? Yes, please. I was fortunate enough to find local whole milk buttermilk. Keffir might be a good substitute, or whole milk yogurt thinned with whole milk. Yep, more fat. Note a theme?

Now, as far as what kind of buttermilk to use, I opt for whole milk. Again, because fat. Slate's L. V. Anderson explored the history of buttermilk, from what Laura Ingalls Wilder described to the fermented beverage sold as a health drink. I've baked this before with skim milk buttermilk and the results are fine.

Honestly, thinking back to this pie, it was good, like top five pies of my life good.



  • 9” Shallow pastry crust, fully-baked


  • 1c Sugar
  • 3Tbls Cornstarch
  • 1 egg, large
  • 3 yolks, large
  • 6Tbls butter, melted
  • 1 1/2c Buttermilk
  • 1 1/2tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4tsp Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together egg and yolks, then combine with sugar/cornstarch.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Pour into the baked pie shell.
  6. Bake at 350˚ till the filling is slightly wobbly, about 40 minutes.
  7. Cool and Eat!