Chef John's Buttermilk Pie


  • 1prepared dough for 1 (9-inch) single crust pie
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


  • Step 2

    Roll out pie dough large enough to fit pie dish with just a bit of overhang. Transfer dough to pie dish and gently fit into dish. Trim excess dough hanging over the edge. Fold about 1/2 inch of the edge of the dough to the inside edge of the pie crust to reinforce it. Crimp the edge. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork about 10 times. Place a sheet of parchment paper gently into the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans so pie crust doesn’t bubble up with you bake it.

  • Step 3

    Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven; lift weights from pan with edges of parchment paper. Allow crust to cool completely.

  • Step 4

    Place butter in mixing bowl; add sugar. Smear together until completely combined using a spatula, 4 or 5 minutes. Add flour and salt. Mix together until combined. Stir in 3 eggs; mix until slightly blended. Then using a whisk, whisk together until mixture is fairly smooth and creamy.

  • Step 5

    Pour in vanilla extract. Add nutmeg, zest of lemon, lemon juice, and buttermilk. Whisk until thoroughly mixed, 2 or 3 minutes. Pour into pie shell.

  • Step 6

    Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and just set, 45 to 55 minutes. Pie should have a slight wiggle, but not a soupy “jiggle.” Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.

  • Chef's Notes:

    You can use 1/2 of my Buttercrust Pastry Dough for this recipe–it would be perfect!

    I’ve never had much trouble finding buttermilk, even in regular, non-fancy grocery stores, but depending on where you live in the world, apparently that’s not the case. There are many “hacks” for making a substitute, usually using milk and lemon juice, or vinegar. I’ll let you Google those at your leisure, but I’d be more inclined to try some yogurt, thinned out with some milk to be closer to the tanginess of buttermilk.

    Once your pie is made, it can be served “as is,” or topped with seasonal fruit. I went with raspberries, mostly for the pictures, but if you were going to do this for the holidays, some persimmons, and/or pomegranate seeds would also be very nice.

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