Gama’s Buttermilk Pie

I promised “vintage” recipes for the month of May.  I looked up the word vintage in the dictionary and turns out it is a word used to describe wine.  This may not be news to you, my savvy readers, but it was to me…in that it isn’t descriptive of other things with age.  Below is the description I found in the dictionary on my iMac.

vintage |ˈvintij|noun
the year or place in which wine, esp. wine of high quality, was produced.
• a wine of high quality made from the crop of a single identified district in a good year. • literary wine
• the harvesting of grapes for winemaking.• the grapes or wine produced in a particular season.
• the time that something of quality was produced: rifles of various sizes and vintages.

of, relating to, or denoting wine of high quality: vintage claret.
• denoting something of high quality, esp. something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person’s work: a vintage Sherlock Holmes adventure.

ORIGIN late Middle English: alteration (influenced by vintner) of earliervendage, from Old French vendange, from Latin vindemia (from vinum‘wine’ + demere ‘remove’).

I began to think, should I call it antique recipe month?  I’ve decided to stick with vintage as I think you will all understand how it’s being used for my May theme.

I’m lucky to have several of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes as well as a few vintage cookbooks.  Cookbooks and magazines from the 1930’s-1970’s will be the tools I”ll use this month.  In glancing through them I’ve been reminded of how different recipes are today in comparison to those in my old cookbooks.  My family will get a sample of days gone by as they enjoy meals and desserts from the old days.  Adoring hubby and Miss T are on board…so here we go.

Today I’m sharing one of my Gama’s recipes, handwritten on a sheet of stationery from the Hotel Ritz in Palm Springs, California. My Gama was my Dad’s mother.  Her hair turned snow-white when she was 19 years old, certainly a tad devastating to a 19 year-old girl, she was petite in stature, with crystal clear blue eyes.  I’m sure those beautiful blue eyes more than made up for her ivory colored hair.  She had five sisters all given names ending in “ie.”.  I like to recite their names, Lessie, Lettie, Hettie, Bessie, Nellie and Jimmie.  Gama was named Jimmie and was the youngest daughter in her family.  She kept ice-cold Coca-Colas in her ice box, took Excedrin for headaches, fried eggs in bacon grease, went to church regularly, and often took me to the drive-in for banana splits, when I was a kid.

I’m glad I have her handwritten recipes as well as many of her kitchen items.  Platters, bowls, glasses, pie plates, nut grinders and many other useful pieces.  The pie plate I used for her buttermilk pie recipe is one I’m sure she used for this same recipe.  You’ll notice it’s a pretty pale yellow with a lovely floral design gracing the sides.  Many of today’s pie recipes produce more filling than this pie dish can hold, so I don’t use it as often as I’d like.

I copied her recipe word for word.  There is a slight problem in that she doesn’t mention  baking time and the fact that if the oven remains set to 450* for the entire 30 minutes or so the pie needs to bake you’ll have a pie with a very blackened top.  Here is how I amended the recipe to bake and not burn the pie.  The first 10 minutes it baked at 450*, then the smells coming from the oven alerted me that the temperature needed to be lowered.  I turned it down to 325* and finished baking it for about 20-25 more minutes.  When I lowered the temp I also tented the entire pie with aluminum foil to prevent any further browning of the pie top.  You will know it is done when there is minimal jiggling in the center of the filling.

I was completely satisfied with the finished pie.  Gama’s recipe produces a pie with a fluffy filling, as a result of the whipped egg whites folded in at the end, with a hint of citrus goodness.  The simpleness of butter, sugar, eggs, lemon and buttermilk fulfilled my sweet tooth and received rave reviews from my man Dan.  I’ll carry on the tradition of making this pie and when my daughters are old maybe, just maybe, they can classify it as an antique recipe.



About The Orange Bee

Food Blogger - Bee Keeper - Mom - Wife - Lover of Life
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8 Responses to Gama’s Buttermilk Pie

  1. I always have buttermilk on hand and have never made this. That must be addressed. Glad you fiddled with the recipe to avoid the blackening. This looks wonderful.

    • Thank you – I love buttermilk pie. As I said so simple yet so delicious. How’s your garden and how’s the heat up your way? I’ve got a bug eating my pepper plant leaves not sure yet what it is. Otherwise garden is coming along nicely. Oh something ate most of my lettuce too….Figure you and I might have the same pests since we live in the same general area. Maybe you are so good at it that you don’t have any pests! I can’t use any poisons due to the bees…going natural.

  2. Sondra says:

    Wow, Hotel Ritz. Haven’t heard that one in a long time. Wasn’t that your hotel? Anyway, the pie looks amazing. I simply love buttermilk pie. Can’t wait to try. I have a thought: I bet Gama’s oven had to be set at 450 degrees to actually get to 350 inside. I would imagine that those old ovens never were accurate.

    • Sondra, you’re probably right about the oven. It worked out great to lower the temp and we like the browned edges. Yes, Hotel Ritz – I do believe you spent a few fun times there with me!! Man, those were the days. This pipe looks like something you would make for sure.

  3. Kristy says:

    I love the idea of vintage (or antique) recipes! I too have many of my great-grandma’s and grandma’s cookbooks. It’s so fun to see their hand-written notes in there. I’ve never heard of a buttermilk pie. It looks great!

    • Yumm – buttermilk pie, as I said so simple yet so yummy! Thanks for the compliment! Your kids might even like it – when you do recipes from the South you could do a buttermilk pie – it’s southern and Texas for sure!

  4. ceciliag says:

    This sounds like a pie for me to make, i have eggs and fresh milk, but i will need to make some buttermilk, do you think she meant the milk left over from making butter or cultured buttermilk! what a gorgeous pie and how lucky to have her recipes and her dishes and those lovely memories.. My bees are all out buzzing today, bet yours are too! c

    • I think cultured buttermilk…..making your own could work for sure Bees are very busy – I’ll probably go inspect a few hives tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

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