Black Bottomed Buttermilk Pie

Old-fashioned buttermilk pie is as sweet and tangy, as it is comforting; and it is the perfect canvas for showcasing buttermilk’s unique flavor. Here, the custard bakes in a gorgeous dark brown, bittersweet chocolate crust -with a texture somewhere between a cookie and a traditional pie dough. Both the brown sugar and the buttermilk in the filling beautifully play off the chocolate in the dough. As does the final sprinkle of turbinado sugar pre-bake, which adds a gorgeous, sparkly, caramel-like color to the finished pie.

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Black Bottomed Buttermilk Pie

Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan
Course Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine Pie
Servings 8 slices


For the chocolate pie crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsps Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp whitevinegar chilled
  • Egg whitefor brushing

For the filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 6 tbsps unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

For sprinkling:

  • Turbinado sugar


To make the pie dough:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and brown sugar. Add the butter and using your fingers, rub the cubes into the dry ingredients, until they are mostly pea-size or a little larger. Add the water and vinegar in three additions, tossing the mixture with your fingers after each. Once all of the liquid has been added, knead the dough two or three times in the bowl until it comes together in a crumbly mass. 
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, forming it into a disc, and refrigerate it for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  • Generously flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a 13-inch wide round. It may be crumbly at first, particularly around the edges, so use your fingers to smooth out any loose bits.
  • Gently transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, trim any excess and decoratively crimp. If the dough tears as you move it, just use your fingers to mend them. Place in the freezer for an hour. 
  • Heat the oven to 375°F. Drape a piece of parchment paper over the pie dough and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the weights and bake for 5 minutes more. Place the pie plate on a cooling rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. If the dough has puffed up at all, use the back of a soon to gently press the dough flat again. Let the crust cool for a few minutes and then brush with an egg white.

To make the filling:

  • While the crust cools, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the sugars, cornstarch and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each. Add the buttermilk, butter and vanilla and whisk for 30 seconds or so.


  • Pour the filling into the crust and generously sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the center jiggles only slightly. Let cool to room temperature before serving, at least 4 hours. Or refrigerate, once cooled slightly, and serve chilled.
  • The pie will keep up to 3 days tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator, but it is best within 24 hours of making.

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