Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buttermilk Pie: The Crack Pie of the 1950s



For dessert addicts in New York City, crack pie needs no explanation.  For everyone else, let's just say that this most delicious treat at Momofuku Milk Bar was given the perfect name.

Recipes for crack pie are all over the internet; problem is, there's no official one and those that do exist are extremely complicated and time-consuming with no guarantee of success.

So imagine my delight when my co-workers at Henry Street Settlement (a lovely, but tough crowd) heaped praise on this c. 1950s Borden's Buttermilk Pie* calling it "amazing" and "incredible" and . . .  drum roll here . . . "as good as crack pie."

It's really easy to make (once you master the pie crust) and very quick -- I swear it took me about five minutes to put the filling together.

At the beginning, making the pie filling is like making a cake, creaming sugar and butter,
 then adding flour and eggs.
The very liquid filling firms up in the oven.

The top takes on a dark golden color.


*I did not use Borden's Buttermilk; I believe that company closed shop about a decade ago.  Instead I used "real" buttermilk (as opposed to supermarket varieties) from Animal Farm that I purchased at Saxelby Cheese at the Essex Market.  Look for more buttermilk posts in the coming week.

16 comments:

  1. Does buttermilk ever go bad?

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    1. yes it does go bad and it is nasty

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  2. I have a similar measuring cup that was my grandmothers. I have to use it when making her recipes as it is a much smaller measure than a modern cup.

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  3. We might just try this at home!

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  4. @Robin: Yes, there is typically an expiration date on most buttermilk, including the "real" one I used in this recipe. Having said that, I've been known to use supermarket buttermilk past its expiration date if it smells and tastes ok.
    @Laurie: It is one of my favorite measuring cups, but isn't a cup a cup, i.e., wouldn't one cup of milk measure out the same in this container as in a more modern one?
    @Margaret: Please do. My blog is the opposite of "Don't try this at home." Report back on the results.
    @Ryan: For the better, I hope!

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  5. Borden's Buttermilk is still available in some parts of the country (Tulsa, OK for certain). It is 2% butterfat, which is more than some cultured buttermilks, but less than the whole milk "buttermilk." I suspect that REAL buttermilk is much, much lower in fat since it is what is left after the butterfat has separated out of the cream.

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  6. @Anonymous: Wow, had no idea that Borden's Buttermilk was still available. Most of the commercial cultured buttermilk for sale in New York is all labeled "low fat," without a specific percentage. If your suspicions are correct, then that's great news because the real stuff tastes so much better than the cultured product. Thanks for your comment.

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  7. The plate the pie is sitting on is Blue Ridge Pottery - I love that & collect it! Very cool to see it here. Pie looks yummy!

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    1. Anonymous: You recognized that pottery! I got a complete set a few years ago from an older relative. It was new in the box -- she had purchased it (maybe from Montgomery Wards or similar) in the 1940s or 1950s and never unpacked it!!

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    2. I have half of a set of Blue Ridge pottery that was my Grandmothers. I treasure it. Just discovered this blog from the March issue of LHJ! So glad to have found it. I have many handwritten recipes from my late Mother which I also treasure.

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    3. Carrie -- Thanks so much! And so nice to "meet" someone else who still uses Blue Ridge. And you're so lucky to have your late mother's handwritten recipes. I'm glad you found A Cake Bakes.

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  8. I was visiting my mom and and perusing LHJ that was sitting on her in-table. Not a magazine I usually read. My eye was immediately drawn to the article about you collecting vintage recipes. Probably,because I enjoy my family recipes that are handwritten by my grandmother in her neat script, and I love buying outdated collections of recipe book at book sales, etc. You know the ones that were put together by a school or church group, etc. I always figured if you submitted a recipe, it would be one of your family favorites. Right?
    Buttermilk pie was one I discovered some years ago. It is always a hit and soooooooo easy. I often add some lemon and zest.
    I love your blog and the pictures are wonderful. Is that a wedgewood stove in the background?
    I will try the Lemon Cake pie, soon. Lemon cake pudding was my dad's favorite and I have a feeling that this pie will be similar in taste and texture.
    You have another follower!
    K-fro

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    1. kevel88 -- Wow, so glad to hear that buttermilk pie is alive and well out there. It is a great dessert. Thank you so much for the very kind words; I'm really touched, especially coming from someone who knows where I'm coming from (at least in terms of recipes!) I think lemon cake pie is basically lemon cake pudding baked in a pie shell (which is gilding the lily, but hey, why not?) The stove in my kitchen is a Chambers, dating from about 1950, though I'm a big fan of Wedgewood, and almost every other old stove for that matter. Thanks so much for writing (and I love the title of your blog. And the writing, too).

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  9. I collect the green depression glass and I to0 have that measuring cup in the green. I am fixin to go to the kitchen and make this pie in just a minute. Just read today about taking the best heavy cream you can find, put it in the food processor and whipp it until it turns to butter, then what you have left is buttermilk. But what I was wondering, is that buttermilk as thick as store bought because wouldn't you need that thickest for the pie to turn out as it should? Want your stove, Love your Blog, and love your husbands dark side of baking. That was harlious!!!

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    1. Thanks, grandmakathy 42. That measuring cup (which is a pale blue) is among my favorites! I hope your pie came out well. I've never made my own buttermilk, so I can't really answer your question. I find that the thickness of buttermilk varies by brand but I've never had a problem with this pie because of the buttermilk. Thanks for writing.

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