I do love buttermilk but that wasn’t always the case…
My mother used to drink buttermilk. For some reason, I only remember her drinking it on warm summer days. I was just a small girl at the time and I was curious about that thick, creamy milk she drank. “Want a taste?” she asked. I nodded and took a healthy gulp. The thick liquid was already sliding down my throat before my taste buds told my brain that this stuff was putrid. Yuck! How the heck could my mother drink it? That was my one and only experiment with buttermilk for many decades.
A few years ago I decided I was going to make a custard pie and I got an old family cookbook out to look for a recipe. Stuck in the cookbook was a newspaper clipping for “USS Missouri Buttermilk Pie”. That sounded pretty revolting, I thought. The recipe had been published in the 1994 issue of Midwest Living. Supposedly the pie takes its name from the battleship Missouri, where Master Chief Steward Harry Hightower served it to President Harry Truman.
For some reason I felt like living dangerously and decided what the heck, I’ll try it…. and I did. As it turned out, it was an amazingly delicious pie. Richer than a normal custard pie but with a slight tang. Absolutely delightful. And that was the beginning of my continuing and obsessive quest for buttermilk recipes.
USS Missouri Buttermilk Pie
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 T all purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 9 inch unbaked pie crust with edges crimped high
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat over to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, gradually beat sugar into softened butter with an electric mixer, beating until misture is well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour and salt. Gradually beat dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Beat in buttermilk until mixture is well blended. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle toasted pecans over filling. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool. Store pie in refrigerator.
Note: to toast chopped pecans, spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until browned, stirring once or twice during baking.
I’ve acquired some wonderful buttermilk recipes over the past few years. My most recent recipe is for buttermilk bran muffins. I took the original All-Bran cereal recipe and amended it slightly to substitute buttermilk for milk and I love the result. I’ve tried this with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and various percentages of both. The whole wheat flour gives the muffin a very nice hearty consistency that I like very much. Using 1 cup of whole wheat and 1/4 of white flour also produces a great muffin.
Buttermilk All-Bran Muffins (Note: Update Below Recipe)
2 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran Original cereal
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or combination of white and whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Sunsweet Plum Amazins or raisins or other dried fruit
Combine cereal and 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk in large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins. I make six large muffins with this recipe but you could also make 12 smaller muffins.
After cereal and buttermilk have rested for 30 minutes add egg and oil and blend well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Blend as best you can (will be very dry) and then add the additional 1/2 cup buttermilk. Mix until combined and then add dried fruit. Spoon batter into muffin tins. The batter should look like this in the tins:
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins.
These store well for several days in the refrigerator and are especially delicious lightly grilled or heated in a pan with a tiny bit of butter.
Update: I went to make a batch of these muffins recently and found I only had 1 and 1/2 cups of All Bran cereal and not 2 cups. I added 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal to the bran and then reached for the buttermilk. But I only had 3/4 cup of buttermilk and not 1 and 1/4 cups! So I added a half cup of plain yogurt (all that I had on hand) to the buttermilk and combined with the cereal. I let that soak for the required 30 minutes. But now I had no more buttermilk and no more yogurt (talk about bad planning) so I used a 1/2 cup plain milk for the remainder of the recipe. And these muffins were delicious! I might even like them better than the original recipe… Just wanted you to know that there is room for experimentation and adjustment in this recipe!
The brown transferware serving set shown in the lead photo can be found here at my Etsy shop: