Originally from Britain, this pie has now become a Southern States classic. It’s basically a custard pie baked in a pastry crust. Buttermilk is the liquid that remains after churning butter from cream. It has a lovely tangy flavour and is a perfect ingredient for a pie. Beware when buying buttermilk from supermarkets, as some buttermilks are nothing more than skimmed milk thickened with culture, so read the list of ingredients to make sure you are getting the real thing.
1. For the pastry, place the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. Now add the butter, a cube at a time, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand.
2. Drizzle the ice-cold water over the mixture and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the food processor and gently shape it into a flat disc. Wrap the dough in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a floured surface into a 30cm disc about 3mm thick. Gently line a greased 23cm flan ring, or pie dish if you have one, with the pastry and crimp the edges. Prick holes in the base and sides of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry with baking parchment, and fill with pie weights or baking beans. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ for 10 minutes then take the pastry out of the oven and remove the weights and baking parchment. Bake the pastry for a further 8 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly browned. Remove from the oven, place it on a wire rack, and leave it to cool completely.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas 4 then make the filling. Place all of the ingredients (except the cinnamon) in a bowl and whisk until smooth and lump-free. Pour the filling into the cooled pastry shell and bake for about 25 minutes, or until set. You can test this by giving the pie a little shake. If it wobbles it’s set, if it creates waves, leave a little while longer in the oven.
5. Once the pie is ready, remove it from the oven, and leave it to cool. This will take some time, so do not attempt to cut the pie until it has cooled and set, otherwise it will collapse. Lightly dust with cinnamon and serve with whipped cream and berries. The pie is best served at room temperature, but is also good re-heated or served chilled.