Most pie crusts are made with flour, butter and water, with a pinch of salt and sugar to add a little bit of additional flavor. The three basic ingredients change in proportion from recipe to recipe, but they are rarely replaced. This Buttermilk Pie Crust is a departure from my “usual” pie crust recipe because it uses buttermilk instead of water to bind the ingredients together.
Buttermilk has a few different functions in the recipe. The first is adding additional flavor to the crust. Buttermilk – as the name suggests – has a slightly tangy, buttery flavor that is delicious in all kinds of baked goods, from scones to cakes, and this pie crust recipe is no exception. The crust has a wonderfully butter flavor after baking. The buttermilk also helps to both tenderize the crust and encourage it to brown. This means that the baked crust will still be flaky, but it will be a bit more tender (and easier to cut through with a fork) overall than a crust made with water alone. The crust will also have a lovely golden brown hue after it comes out of the oven.
The dough is supple and easy to roll out. It doesn’t “shrink” quite as much while you are rolling it or when it is baking. This makes it an excellent choice for crusts that need to be pre-baked before they are filled, or for tarts where you want the crust to cling closely to the fluted edge of a pan. You still need to use pie weights, however, to ensure that your crust stays exactly where you want it to before your filling is added.
This crust is a wonderful addition to your repertoire of pie recipes. It works well with all kinds of fillings, though I particularly like it for quick-cooking galettes (my Blackberry Galette is pictured above) and for pies where the crust is baked before the filling is added, as is the case with many custard pies.
This recipe makes enough dough for a 9-inch double-crust pie, as well as instructions for baking a single-crust pie. When preparing the dough, divide it in half and wrap up each portion separately, that way you can use one and save one. The unbaked crust will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, but can be frozen and thawed before baking if you need to store it longer.
Buttermilk Pie Crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into several pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Pulse to combine, then add in cold butter and pulse 5-6 times until it is broken up a bit. Add in buttermilk and continue to pulse until the dough starts to come together. When dough starts to stick together and ceases to look sandy, turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or a smooth countertop and press together gently.
Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a disc. Wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to use.
Makes dough for 1 9-inch double crust pie.
To prebake a 9-inch pie shell:
Preheat oven to 375F.
Take one disc of dough and roll it out into a roughly 11-inch circle, ensuring that your crust will cover the sides of the pan.
Carefully transfer dough to pie pan and press it down gently, without stretching it, into the corners of the pan. Crimp the edges of the crust (or use scissors to remove excess). Chill for 15 minutes.
Line crust with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with beans, rice or pie weights.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment and the pie weights and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Allow crust to cool completely before filling.
Baked crust can be made 1 day ahead of time.