It would probably be best to enjoy this sweet Apricot Buttermilk Pie with a big floppy hat, a Scarlett O’Hara inspired dress, some sort of lavish front porch, a glass of iced tea, and a slow-drawl Southern accent. If you don’t have those things… not to worry. This pie, with all of its charm and Southern roots, will welcome you all the same. Iced tea is encouraged… a hat, too.
Buttermilk Pie is a simple custard pie made of eggs, melted butter and buttermilk. In this variation we’re adding dried apricots and bourbon for a bit of summer sweetness and boozy appeal. I like this pie served chilled to really set the custard base, and served with a tart apricot sour cream spread to balance the sweetness of the pie. It’s a beauty!
A buttermilk pie is so much more than buttermilk.
Buttermilk gets all of the credit, but really… eggs, brown butter, and sugar do the heavy lifting. Bourbon, lemon, and vanilla play important supporting rolls. Flour for thickening. Buttermilk to stop the show and take all of the glory.
Apricots are my favorite fruit and I’m surprisingly picky about baking with them. With apricots only in season for a few months a year, I always find that I shove all of the fresh apricots in my mouth before I get a chance to bake them into anything sweet.
Dried apricots are my friend. All of the apricot flavor with none of the agony of baking fresh apricots. For this pie, I poured a bit of boiling water over the dried apricots, added a splash of bourbon, and let the mixture sit for a bit to soften the dried fruit.
Once softened, the apricots are pulverized in a food processor, liquid and all.
We’re going for a slightly chunky paste that resembled a fruit roll-up before all of the rolling-up.
Eggs first. Sugar, melted and browned butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. All of the things in the bowl. Just go on!
Flour for the thickness.
Apricots are whisked into the custard base. Everything in! Nothing left behind!
What is a pie without buttery pie crust?
A sad state of affairs.
Pie crust is rolled, coaxed, trimmed, folded, and crimped into a pie shell.
The pie shell is filled with sweet apricot custard and baked away. The custard will set and the peach color will deepen. Once cooled and chilled through I topped the pie with a simple apricot-studded sour cream spread.
This pie is humble, sweet, and just… pretty. The baked custard is smooth with bits of dried apricot adding just a bit of bite. The crust is buttery and golden crisp. Summer pie, simple and lovely.
A sweet and summer Southern classic!
For the Crust:
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cold buttermilk
For the Filling:
- 8 ounces dried apricots
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional, but delicious)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted until browned
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried apricot puree, reserved from apricots above
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers (or a potato masher), work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
- On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
- To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
- To make the filling, place dried apricots in a small bowl. Pour hot water and bourbon (if using) over the apricots and let sit for 5 minutes. Place the apricots (water and bourbon included) into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process for about 3 minutes until almost smooth, lots of small bits will remain. Set aside. That's perfect!
- Add sugar and lemon zest to a medium bowl. Rub the two together with the back of a spoon. Add the eggs and whisk until thick and well combined. Add flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add butter and stir to incorporate. Lastly add buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the apricot mixture for the topping and fold the rest of the apricots into the pie filling.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the pie shell. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the pie is puffed up and the center no longer jiggles in waves. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. I think it's best to cool the pie to room temperature then refrigerate overnight before serving.
- To make the topping, stir together sour cream, powdered sugar, and reserved apricots. Spread over cooled pie. Slice and serve. Store pie, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to three days.