I had planned a massive pie blowout for our last month in the Year of Pie, and reserved a special night with my roommates to make not one, but THREE pies for our personal apartment Christmas party. My favorite pie book had three pies that had "Indiana" in the title, more than any other state, as well as multiple references to my beloved adopted home within sidebars and commentary. How could I choose between them? I needed to make them all: buttermilk, butterscotch, and sugar cream (which is the unofficial state pie).
I bought all the ingredients I would need and had made my pie dough, and was ready to make everything that night, when I realized that I had a slight problem. I only have one real pie plate. Was it worth it to me to own three pie plates? I wasn't sure. My roommate Marcue offered to buy a couple at Walmart, and if I didn't want them both she would take one. It sounded like a great plan, so we were set.
When I rolled out the dough that night, I thought that it seemed very elastic, slightly different than I had experienced before. I had remembered that one batch had needed a lot of water to come together, so even though it was easy and lovely to roll, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. But I fitted everything in its plate and put them each in the oven. And then....
Obviously, it shrank like crazy, but the sides collapsed despite the weights I'd put in the bottom, and it seemed to have a very bready consistency. There was no way I could fill it - it would have simply fallen over the edges.
Burn pie does not for good eats make. Into the trash it went.
Despite the inconsistent coloring and the bread texture, it seemed the most promising, until I set it own on the counter when I took it out of the oven, when the pie plate shattered the instant it touched the counter. I've never seen anything like it, and I just stared in disbelief for several seconds. Were there flaws in the glass? Was it of poor quality in the first place? Was I expecting too much from Walmart? I'm guessing all of the above. But seriously, shattered glass pie? I can't serve that! Even though most of the pieces were quite large, I couldn't risk serving it with any chance of glass being left on it. Needless to say, pie was not had that night at all. But we did end up playing baseball in the apartment!
I had a Christmas party to attend the next day, and everyone else was leaving for vacation later in the week, so I knew that despite the fact I had another week in town by myself, I wouldn't have anyone to share my pie with and I needed to make one that night. So I knocked out a crust and baked a buttermilk pie the next day before the party. It was the easiest one to make, and it was a custard pie, which I hadn't tried yet. The pie itself was good, but not very exciting, but it was old-fashioned and seemed very Indiana, so mission accomplished. The filling was tangy and a little crumbly, and my friends really liked it. But I can't help but be a little disappointed that it wasn't the pie extravaganza I had planned for the end of the year. You can't win them all, right?
Indiana Buttermilk Pie
from Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie by Ken Haedrich
1 partially prebaked pie crust
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Combine the sugars, flour, and the salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and pulse again. Add the buttermilk and butter and process for 5 to 7 seconds, until well blended. Slowly pour the filling into the cooled pie shell.
Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is set, about 40 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees halfway through the baking, so it cooks evenly. When done, the center may move slightly when the pan is shaken.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool thoroughly. Serve at room temperature or cover and cool.