Lemon Vanilla Buttermilk Pie – Classic Dessert with Tart Lemon Custard, Sweet Vanilla and Tangy Buttermilk. Time-Tested Family Recipe.
I have recently gathered a talented team of contributors for ToriAvey.com. I look forward to sharing their fabulous food writing and delectable recipes with you. Kelly Jaggers joins the team to share her family’s vintage recipes and kitchen memories, as well as her gorgeous photography. For her first post, Kelly decided to make a time-honored recipe passed down from her maternal grandmother, just in time for Mother’s Day. Read more here. ~ Tori
My maternal grandmother, Lola, grew up on a small farm in Paige, Texas, a speck on the map between Austin and Houston. She was the older of two daughters, born of German and Czech immigrants, who came to Texas looking for a better life. While both sisters had their farm chores – collecting eggs, milking cows, and feeding horses – Lola spent the bulk of her time doing housework and cooking. My grandmother told me she preferred the indoor work, even the monotony of cleaning and making the large daily meals, to working outside where it would often be hot. She was never lazy, she would say, but she always wanted to be comfortable.
Because my grandmother spent her time working in the kitchen she developed some pretty fierce culinary skills, and a tendency to make meals big enough to feed a team of farm hands even if she was feeding a handful. What I remember best about visiting her was the scent of pot roast, yeast rolls, and pie when we walked in the door. She would always make the same meal to greet us when we came to visit, and she would always bake an array of pies to celebrate our coming. There would be chocolate cream pie (my favorite as a child), a double crust fruit pie, and buttermilk pie flavored with lemon and vanilla. She would also have apple fritters, a variety of chips and snack foods, loaves of sliced bread, and a huge ham. No one would lose weight when visiting my grandmother.
On Christmas Eve 1998 my grandmother passed away. My mother and I had the task of cleaning out her house and sorting out her keepsakes. My mother insisted that I copy down all her recipes to keep for myself. I had just entered college and didn’t see the point, but my mother is wise. Now that I am older, and food is my career and my passion, I rely on these time tested recipes, and am so happy to have them and the connections it gives me to my roots. The pie recipes are particularly important to me as they remind me of her and the times we spent together.
The recipe that follows is one of my favorites. I have made it for company and simply for myself. The taste of it takes me back to her kitchen in Houston. I am eight years old again, begging her to take me to the community swimming pool while she sorts bags of Avon to deliver to her clients. She would often shush me with a slice of pie. I probably whined more than I should have just to get extra slices. I have always been greedy. This recipe is a little different from her original recipe. She used vanilla and lemon extract, while I use fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla bean. The flavor of this pie is similar to lemon custard, but it has the distinct rich tang of buttermilk. Serve this pie after a heavy pot roast meal, or as a snack to quiet anxious kids. It will hit the spot. I should know.
Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
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- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 8 tbsp butter cubed and chilled
- 2-4 tbsp ice water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
- 2 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice about ½ lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
- Begin by preparing the crust. In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the butter and with your fingers rub the fat into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse sand with no large pieces of fat remaining.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix until the dough forms a rough ball. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, if needed.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least thirty minutes or up to three days.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator for ten minutes before rolling out. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick, about a 12-inch circle, turning the dough often to make sure it does not stick. Dust the surface with additional flour if needed.
- Fold the dough in half and place it into a 9-inch pie plate. Unfold and carefully push the dough into the pan. Use kitchen scissors or a paring knife to trim the dough to 1-inch of the pan’s edge. Turn the excess dough under itself around the rim of the pan and crimp the edges of the dough with your fingers or a fork, as desired, and chill for at least 20 minutes before filling and baking.
- Next prepare the filling. Heat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, or in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pastry crust and place on a sheet pan.
- Bake in the lower third of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pie is a rich golden brown on the top, the edges are set, and jiggles slightly in the center when moved. Cool completely to room temperature, then cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours before serving. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.