Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bourbon and Buttermilk - Creating a New Pie

It is interesting to me how I come up with "new" recipes - if any recipe can be called new, really. It seems that every time I think up a concept, if I go out and "Google It", it already exists, and in many forms, to boot. This morning I was thinking about buckwheat, because yesterday I had made the recipe I posted at the beginning of the month for pancakes made with buckwheat and Kamut flour. They were so fluffy and light I made them again  for myself and was eating them this morning. I gave thought to buckwheat scones. I was thinking of what flavors would go well with buckwheat and I though of maple. Upon Googling, sure enough, there are buckwheat scones made with maple flavors. 

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie
I just thought up this new breakfast treat after breakfast this morning, and since scones are best fresh, I will wait on making them until I finish with the pancakes. Since I am the only one eating them, they will last at least 4 days. But instead, I had been thinking about my Chess Pie, which is one of my husband's and my favorite pies. It is so good, and so easy to make, I was imagining what to do to alter flavors just a little. I did see (online) some recipes for Bourbon and Buttermilk pies, some with one flavor, some with others. While they were similar to my Chess Pie, they differed in a few particulars. Since I have been making the Chess Pie for over 40 years, I figured, why mess with a good thing? I planned to stay as close to the amounts for my new recipe as possible.

Just Baked

With that in mind, I looked at that recipe and substituted the Bourbon and buttermilk, but then, what other flavors? I liked the orange extract flavor with Bourbon in the Pannettone Breads I made at Christmas time. I decided to use orange extract in this pie. Of course, when making a pie, one needs the pie pastry also. For me, the "soggy crust" at the bottom of the pie is a highlight, so I do not pre-bake the pie shell. If you are one of those who cannot stand the soggy crust, then I suggest pre-baking, as I described in my post of April 6th, except, once removing the beans or pie weights, do not continue to bake the shell. Just allow it to cool before adding the pie filling. The shell will be subjected to baking for nearly another hour, once filled.

Before and after baking
Chess Pie, if you are unfamiliar with this term, is basically a custard pie. It has just a teensy bit of flour and cornmeal to thicken, but aside from that, it is eggs, milk and sugar.  Butter gives it exquisite flavor. All these things would stay the same, except substituting buttermilk for the plain milk. The bourbon was just an added 2 or 3 tablespoons of liquid. With the amount of egg in the recipe, this would be no problem. I opted to use vanilla bean rather than extract. While 1 teaspoon more, or less, of liquid would be no big deal, I felt that the crisp flavor of true vanilla bean would be better. In retrospect, perhaps at another time, it might be good to use brown sugar instead of white, granulated sugar, for a more caramel-y flavor. 

The results? The Bourbon is noticeable. The orange extract is not. I cannot detect anything that points to buttermilk instead of regular milk. The texture is identical to Chess Pie; smooth and creamy. All in all, while the pie is excellent, I guess more changes are needed to make it truly something other than Chess Pie. Still. If you've never had a Chess Pie, but like the idea of Bourbon in a pie, you might want to try this one out!


While I used a 9-inch pie plate for this pie, the filling was just a little bit too much. It would be best to use a 10-inch pie plate if possible, or make two smaller 8-inch pies. This is what I did:  
Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

makes one 10-inch pie

1 10-inch pie shell

2 - 3 tablespoons Bourbon or Whiskey
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped into the Bourbon
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons / 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Fit the pie crust to the plate and crimp the edges high. Place the empty shell in the fridge until needed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the Bourbon, vanilla seeds and orange extract and set aside. The vanilla may have to be coaxed to separate. Mine wanted to stay in clumps.

Bourbon, vanilla & extract            |                  creaming butter & sugar              |                        eggs added             
In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with the flour, cornmeal and salt. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the Bourbon mixture to the buttermilk and add this to the creamed mixture and beat to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. As this is a custard type pie, the center will still be a bit jiggly when the pie is done. It will set completely as it cools. 



My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

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