Buttermilk pie is great any time of year, but I especially like it during the summer. The pie is easy to put together and has a fresh, tangy flavor to it that goes oh-so-well with all kinds of summer fruits and berries. It is even easier when you put this pie into bar form. As with cheesecake, putting this pie into bar form makes it even easier to make and to serve.
These Buttermilk Pie Bars start with a shortbread crust. Like a shortbread cookie, the crust is substantial and not just an afterthought at the bottom of the pan, but it really helps give the custardy pie bars stability and makes each slice easy to handle. The topping is just like my buttermilk pie filling, firm yet tender and with a great buttermilk flavor that isn’t too sweet. As I said before, this makes it the perfect backdrop for fresh fruit or berries.
I kept the flavorings simple in the bars, using vanilla and nutmeg. These two spices often appear in buttermilk pies. If you want to give your bars a little twist, adding some lemon or orange zest into both the crust and the filling will add a new dimension to the bars, introducing yet another layer of flavor to this simple dessert.
Buttermilk Pie Bars
1/3 cup sugar (pref. vanilla sugar)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or used the Baker’s Edge).
Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until it just begins to turn golden brown.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine all filling ingredients and whisk (or pulse) until mixture is well combined and very smooth.
When crust is done, pour the filling into the hot crust and return to oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until filling is just set. Cool bars on a wire rack. Chill before slicing.
Serve with fresh fruit.