Sweet Corn Buttermilk Pie is made with flaky pastry and is filled with sweet corn and buttermilk custard. For an extra special flavor, the filling is scented with vanilla, lime zest and cinnamon. This is a heavenly summer treat.
Have you ever had dessert made with fresh sweet corn? If not, I urge you to reserve your judgement until you give it a try.
We get lots and lots of fresh corn in our farm share. All through the month of August we enjoy the sweetest most delicious corn several times per week. We grill it, toss it into salads, make corn chowder and corn cakes and freeze quite a bit for the winter.
I love corn in dessert, so I will usually make a couple of sweet treats with our windfall. Our co-op farm grows a variety of corn called Mirai. Mirai corn is so sweet it could almost be a dessert on it’s own.
One of my favorite desserts to make with the Mirai Corn is Sweet Corn Ice Cream. The corn flavor marries perfectly with the creamy ice cream base. So this got me thinking about other custard dishes that I could make with corn. I was pretty sure that fresh corn would be a great addition to Buttermilk Pie, and it is.
Buttermilk pie is a wonderfully simple, old-fashioned recipe. It’s just a custard made with buttermilk baked into a flaky pie shell. My challenge when creating this recipe was to get enough corn flavor into the custard while still having a nice creamy texture for the filling.
I knew I didn’t want to leave whole kernels in the filling. I thought that would just be distracting and confusing and maybe kind of gross to have a lumpy custard filling. So, as I do when I make Sweet Corn Ice Cream, I pureed the corn and then mixed it into the custard.
For the first try I used the same custard recipe that I used for my Blackberry Buttermilk Pie. The Mirai corn is so sweet, I actually had to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by 1/4 cup. I also decided to not only puree, but also strain the custard. The fibrous bits of corn gave the custard an unpleasant curdled appearance and texture.
I also experimented with adding blueberries and blueberry preserves to the pie without much success. Much as I love the flavor combination of corn and blueberries, the fruit masked the corn flavor so it had to go.
The process for making the custard couldn’t be easier because it’s mixed right in the food processor. Once the corn is pureed, simply add the other ingredients and whirl them together. Strain the custard into a pitcher, pour the custard into the pre-baked pie shell and bake.
If you want to make the recipe even easier feel free to use your favorite pre-made pie crust. Much as I would love for you to make your own pie dough, I won’t tell if you take a short-cut. I’m not the baking police, really, I’m not.
Here are some helpful hints for this recipe:
- I used fresh summer corn for this recipe, but frozen corn would work too.
- Taste the custard after it’s mixed. If your corn is not super-sweet you can add more sugar to taste.
- When you strain the custard, press on the corn solids to get maximum liquid from the corn.
- Baking the pie on a preheated sheet pan helps get the bottom of the pie nice and brown and also protects against any custard spills in the oven.
- The custard will puff a little as it bakes in the oven and will settle to a flat top as it cools.
- I like to eat the pie either at room temperature or slightly chilled. I find if the filling is too cold it mutes the delicate corn flavor.
- Leftovers should be refrigerated since this is a custard.
- I only recommend fresh buttermilk for this pie. Though they’re normally a great substitutes, this is not the time to use powdered buttermilk or soured milk.
- If you can find full-fat buttermilk, use that.
- 1/2 recipe Perfect Pie Crust
- 3 ears fresh sweet corn (see note)
- 3/4 cup (6 oz, 168g) granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (1.5 oz, 42g) cornstarch
- 2 large eggs plus 2 yolks
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 360ml) buttermilk
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Roll the pie dough and line a deep dish pie pan. Crimp the edges of the shell. Use a fork to dock the bottom of the crust 3 or 4 times. Refrigerate the pie shell while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the chilled pie shell with aluminum foil and fill the foil with pie weights or dry beans.
- Bake the pie shell for 15-20 minutes, until the dough is set but still pale.
- When the pie shell comes out of the oven place a sheet pan onto the bottom rack of the oven to preheat.
- Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and use the back of the knife to scrape all the "milk" out of the cob. You should get about 2 cups of kernels. Puree the kernels in a food processor or blender.
- Add the sugar, salt, and corn starch and pulse a few times to combine. Add the eggs, yolks, cream, buttermilk, vanilla, lime zest and cinnamon. Pulse to combine the ingredients.
- Strain the custard through a mesh sieve into a container with a pouring spout, pressing on the solids to get as much custard as possible.
- Remove the foil and pie weights from the blind-baked crust. Pour the custard into the pie shell and set the pie onto the preheated sheet pan in the oven.
- Bake until the custard is set, about 45 minutes.
- Cool completely before serving.
The pie is best eaten at room temperature. Because it is a custard pie, leftovers should be refrigerated overnight and brought back to room temperature before eating.
You might also like: