Blueberry Buttermilk Pie

We’re still a few weeks away from spring blueberries here in coastal North Carolina, and being a patient sort of fellow I typically don’t mind the wait. But this past week I found myself in the thrall of some long distance berries I simply couldn’t resist. 

Blueberry Buttermilk Pie courtesy of Ken Haedrich

I’d gone to the market with no intention of jumping the season and making a blueberry pie. In fact I’d settled, happily, on a buttermilk one, intending to skip the fruit altogether during these not-quite-there weeks. There would be plenty of time for fruit pies soon enough. 

But then, several days ago, row upon row of gorgeous Florida blueberries caught my eye in the produce section, neatly arranged like so many Marines in formation. I hesitated briefly, half-heartedly trying to talk myself out of them. But my buy-local resolve soon withered, entwining the fate of my buttermilk pie and blueberries before I’d reached the check out counter. 

It was a short courtship, followed – I’m happy to announce – by a successful marriage, as you’ll see once you’ve tried this Blueberry Buttermilk Pie.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pie courtesy Ken Haedrich and The Pie Academy

Broach the subject of buttermilk pie, and people often get funny. They tend to turn up their noses – but only people who’ve never tried it. Those who have typically can’t get enough. 

If you’re a non-believer, first understand that eating buttermilk pie is nothing like drinking plain buttermilk, any more than enjoying a well made vinaigrette is like drinking plain vinegar. Buttermilk pie is a triumph of a one-time kitchen staple elevated by association with the right company. You get the slight tang and richness of the buttermilk which, with the help of eggs, sugar, and vanilla, turn it into one of the best custards you’ve ever tried. 

More than one account says that buttermilk pie originated in Great Britain before traveling first to Texas and, eventually, across the entire south. But no matter the itinerary, all you need to know is that this hybrid version of buttermilk pie is rich and velvety, shot through with sweet berries and crowned with a crunchy, almost brûléed topping. 

Blueberry pie at The Pie Academy

Make it once, and it will become one of your summer standards. Your family and friends will rave, and you’ll give thanks to the south – and the Brits – for this luscious gift to piedom.  

Lowcountry Pie Getaway Update

Speaking of the south, if you read last week’s post here then you know that we’ve announced the dates and schedule for our 5th Annual Lowcountry Pie Getaway, to be held this October in Charleston, South Carolina. 

The response was robust: we’re halfway to sold-out since opening registration one week ago. Meaning, quite simply, that if you want to secure a spot for this one-of-a-kind pie event, better let us know soon. 

The Pie Academy's Lowcountry Pie Getaway

The express aim of this weekend is to give your pie making skills a giant boost – to build your confidence, familiarize you with a variety of doughs and how to handle them, construct a pie with ease, and to learn those little nuances that make a great pie baker. 

But the Getaway has always added up to so much more than that for our attendees. Visiting Charleston, arguably one the most beautiful and hospitable cities in the country, gives our guests a glimpse of what life was like when the world didn’t spin so fast as it seems to these days. 

It’s a place where you can take a deep breath, soak up the sunshine and  smiles, glimpse at lush courtyard gardens and stroll past historic buildings whose flower boxes spill onto sidewalks. In Charleston, small pleasantries and good manners are the norm, not the exception. 

The Lowcountry Pie Getaway 2016

Your can relax your guard in Charleston, and perhaps that’s why our attendees always click so quickly. We become friends and laugh as we learn. We stay in touch and, often, come back a second (or third) time, like one of this year’s attendees. 

Which is to say we really hope you’ll join us this year, while you still can. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. 

*PASTRY NOTE: Feel free to use any of your favorite pie doughs for this pie. You will find all our archived pie doughs by clicking on the Recipes and Videos tab above, and scrolling down to that section.

ONE LAST REQUEST: If you’ve purchased a copy of my ebook, Pie Zero to Pie Hero – many of you have; we’re pushing the 2,000 download point – I’d be delighted if posted a review on Amazon. Thanks. If you still haven’t purchased a copy and you’d like to, just click here.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pie

Yield 10 servings

Combine one of the south's staple pies with the best seasonal blueberries you can find, and you've got the recipe for a pie from southern heaven. Be sure to make this the day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill before serving.


  • Pastry for a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie shell, refrigerated
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks and 3 egg whites (in separate bowls)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry


  1. If you haven’t already, prepare the pie dough and refrigerate it for about 1 hour before rolling.
  2. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the dough into a 12 1/2 - 13-inch circle. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it. Sculpt the overhanging dough into an upstanding ridge and flute, if desired. Prick the bottom of the pie shell 6 or 7 times with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil about 16-inches long. Carefully - so you don’t disturb the dough - line the pie shell with the foil, pressing it into the creases so it fits like a glove. Add a thick layer of dried beans, banking them up the sides. Bake the pie shell on the center oven rack for 25 minutes. Slide it out and carefully remove the foil and beans. Repoke the holes if they’ve filled in. Slide the shell back in and bake another 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pie shell to a cooling rack. Once cooled, smear a little cream cheese or sour cream into the fork holes to plug them. Cool the beans thoroughly, store in a jar, and save them for next time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the melted butter, sugar, salt, and the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer - a hand mixer is fine - beat on medium speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until the mixture is well blended. Add the cornmeal, flour, lemon juice, and nutmeg and blend again. Add the buttermilk, heavy cream and vanilla and beat on medium-slow speed, just until evenly blended. 
  5. Clean your beaters and beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they're almost able to hold soft peaks. Whisk them into the batter. (You don't have to be overly delicate with this step, as if you're making a souffle. Just whisk the whites right in.)
  6. Spread the blueberries evenly in the pie shell. Slowly pour in the filling so the berries don't move around and pile up in one location. Bake the pie for 15 minutes on the middle rack, then reduce the heat to 350° and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set and no longer soupy. When you jiggle the pie, it should wobble as a whole, not in waves.
  7. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours - preferably 8 hours or more - until serving. Refrigerate leftovers.