I once had a boyfriend who didn't like pie.  I should have seen that as a red flag.

Okay, in fairness: He didn't like fruit pies because of the texture of the filling.  He liked custard pies like pumpkin and icebox pies like Key lime.

Buttermilk pie

This is a classic Texas pie, right up there with pecan and sweet potato.  Mom and I first ate it at Royer's Cafe in Round Top, in 1997.  It was very crowded and we shared a four-top with a lady and her granddaughter.  The lady was surprised we'd never seen buttermilk pie before and sent us her recipe.  I think Mom cut down the sugar and butter a bit in accordance with our preferences, but it's the same idea.  It's a simple custard pie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 pint buttermilk
3 tablespoons flour
big dash of nutmeg
1 unbaked pie shell

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in everything else.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top is somewhat browned.

 Rhubarb pie

Rhubarb pie is a Northern pie, not a Southern one, and a lot of people I meet here haven't ever tried it.  It's kind of like coconut: Most people either love it or hate it.  I love it.  I like strawberry-rhubarb, too, but I think I'll always prefer straight-up rhubarb.   This is adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

4 cups rhubarb, cubed (1 bag of frozen is fine)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3-4 tablespoons tapioca flour*
dash of nutmeg or mace

Combine the rhubarb and sugar in a pot on the stove.  Heat until the rhubarb releases some juice.  Scatter tapioca flour over the rhubarb and sugar and mix in bit by bit.  Add nutmeg or mace and melt in butter.  Stir until mixture thickens, then pour into pie shell.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 350 and bake another 20 minutes.

*Tapioca flour is also called tapioca starch.  I'm told you can also run Minute Tapioca, which is easiest to find, through the blender and use that.  If you don't mind seeing tapioca pearls in your pie, just use Minute Tapioca as-is.  

The original recipe used flour to thicken the filling, and I found that completely inadequate.  I don't like runny pie filling and ended up overbaking the pie in a vain effort to get the filling to dry out a bit (and it was still runny).  I'd experimented a little bit before with cornstarch when I was making apple pies, but I'd read a lot online about how well tapioca thickens highly-acidic fruits and thought I'd give it a try.  I'm much happier with tapioca than flour.


HEMA said…
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