Sugar Buzz: Buttermilk Pie Sundae

April 27, 2011 

The sweetly satisfying Buttermilk Pie Sundae combines vanilla ice cream, caramel, crushed nuts and buttermilk pie.

DREW MARTIN/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

There's rarely a visit to my family's home in Indiana that doesn't include a stop at Mark's Feed Store, a barbecue restaurant with four locations in and around Louisville, Ky. It's one of my favorite places to meet family and old friends, especially on Mondays -- aka Free Dessert Day, when I get to enjoy one of my all-time favorite desserts just for showing up.

Let's talk about Mark's Buttermilk Crunch. Chunks of buttermilk pie make up the parfait's foundation. Buttermilk pie belongs to what I call the "goo" pie family. It's a cousin to chess and pecan pies, and (like most delicious foods packed with calories) has Southern roots.

Now, if you're thinking, "Ew, buttermilk? This pie is going to be tart and milky and gross," stop it. It's not any of those things. Buttermilk has a bad reputation, but it can do wonders in recipes from fried chicken to pancakes.

So Mark's starts with this killer buttermilk pie in the bottom of a frosty glass mug. Then they top it with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and crushed nuts. I don't care how full I am after my barbecue lunch, I finish every last bite of that thing.

Part of what make's this dessert so good is it's simplicity. So I set out to re-create my beloved Buttermilk Crunch.

Preparation: Buttermilk pie is easy to make. Since the pie is covered in ice cream, I took a shortcut and used a frozen crust. When removing the pie from the oven, make sure the top is a dark golden brown and the filling has set. I refrigerated my pies overnight to create a firmer filling, which I'd recommend for this dessert.

Taste: My version of Buttermilk Crunch, which I'm calling Buttermilk Pie Sundae, was as delicious as its inspiration. When the gooey pie blends with the melting ice cream and caramel you might need a minute to compose yourself. It's such a satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Several tasters picked up on the buttermilk flavor, and said the dessert tasted like pancakes.

The bottom line: YUM. Lovers of pecan pie, chess pie and caramel won't need convincing on this one. Buttermilk Pie Sundaes are decadent enough for holidays and special occasions, and could easily become a new family favorite.

Hannah's rating: 5 stars

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Straight from the taster's mouth

"Rich, smooth and creamy with a nice little crunch. It's like a milkshake and a pancake had a delicious love child." Tom Robinette, features editor (5 stars)

"At the first bite, it tasted a bit like pancake. And it got better with every bite as I also began to taste the caramel and ice cream." Kate Cerve, education reporter (4 stars)

"I especially like the way the nuts, ice cream and caramel blend together. It tastes like yummy pancake dessert goodness." Cassie Foss, crime reporter (4 stars)

The samplers: 18 employees of The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette

The scale:

1 star = Ewww!

5 stars = Seconds, please!

Submit your recipe

Do you have an interesting dessert recipe for Hannah's next experiment? Send it to hcarroll@islandpacket.com.

Try it at home

We want to know what YOU think of this Buttermilk Pie Sundae -- yum or yuck? Make some sundaes at home and give us your verdict at islandpacket.com/blogalacarte.

Buttermilk Pie Sundae

Makes: 8 servings

FOR THE PIE:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9-inch) deep dish pie crust

FOR THE SUNDAE:

Vanilla ice cream

Caramel sauce

Crushed nuts

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in flour and salt. Blend in the eggs. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Dust the pie shell with flour. Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 45 more minutes, or until filling is set. Allow pie to cool. (Pie may be refrigerated overnight.)

Cut pie into 8 slices. Cut each slice into large chunks and divide between 8 serving dishes or mugs. Top pie chunks with desired ice cream, caramel sauce and nuts.

Hannah H. Carroll is the assistant features editor for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, and enjoys making desserts for her family and friends.

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