Since buying our house in 2013, Cameron and I have made slow but steady home improvements to the property. We like our somewhat off-kilter neighborhood and appreciate the “slightly more spacious than downtown Denver” lots our house sits on, affording room to landscape and more nooks and crannies for our daughter to explore. When a privacy fence was installed in May, we doubled down on efforts to make our now private backyard more guest-friendly. (Squirrels, if you’re reading this post, you are still on the Middleton-Turner guest blacklist.)
Investing in solid patio dining furniture and a propane grill while increasing our flower and edible gardening has been a sound strategy to get all of us enjoying the space we’ve been fortunate enough to call our own. However, it wasn’t until Cameron’s parents gifted us their well-loved clay chiminea that I realized our outdoor space was missing the campfire atmosphere we both miss from our younger backpacking days.
A couple of weeks ago we invited friends over for a grill night that ended with a slice of today’s buttermilk pie recipe and a blazing chiminea fire. Both were memorable in their own right. The pie for its sweet and tangy flavor and toothsome cornmeal-infused texture. The chiminea for its ability to draft enough oxygen to shoot fire from its top like a volcano.
I recommend both buttermilk pie eating and chiminea fire coaxing. Just make sure you give your chiminea and wood fence enough space to avoid recreating a less relaxing uncontrollable backyard blaze. No need to bother the local firefighters if you can help it.
Buttermilk Brown Sugar Pie
(adapted from a Victuals recipe)
Make One 9-inch pie
– 1 unbaked pie crust
– 1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
– 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 large eggs, at room temperature
– 4 TBS butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
– 3/4 cup room temperature buttermilk (this is one of those times when you need regular buttermilk and not the dry version used in baking)
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. After your pie crust has been prepped, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the crust in a 9-inch pie pan and refrigerate it while making the filling.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the melted butter. Add the dry mixture and stir vigorously until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. When all is well combined, pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set (no longer liquid, but still tender to the touch).
3. Allow the pie to cool until just barely warm before slicing. I served up slices with two scoops of Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream.