Cardamom–Buttermilk Pie

  • Serves

    makes One 10" Pie


Buttermilk pie, an American classic, is a forerunner of cheesecake. Real, old-fashioned buttermilk is the liquid left over from the churning of ripened cream for butter; it has a tangier, more complex flavor than the version found in stores today. In this recipe, sour cream helps replicate the taste of true buttermilk.


  • 1 12 cups plus 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
  • 12 tsp. fine salt
  • 14 tbsp. butter (10 tbsp. cold, 4 tbsp. melted and cooled slightly)
  • 2 tsp. white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Step 1

Combine 1 1⁄2 cups flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and cold butter in a sealable plastic bag and freeze completely. (This may be done up to 3 months in advance.)

Step 2

Mix vinegar and 1⁄2 cup ice water in a bowl. Turn the freezer bag's contents out into a food processor; pulse until chunks of the butter have been reduced to the size of large peas. Add vinegar mixture to flour mixture and pulse briefly to just incorporate. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Step 3

On a well-floured surface, roll dough out to a 13" circle about 1⁄8" thick. Fit into a 10" pie pan; cut away excess dough, leaving a 1 1⁄2" border. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge; using your fingers, pinch the edge to create a wavy pattern. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Step 4

Heat oven to 400°. Prick bottom of dough with a fork; line with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and bake until light brown, about 10 minutes more. Let cool on a rack.

Step 5

Whisk together remaining flour and salt with the melted butter, cardamom, egg yolks, and sour cream; beat in remaining sugar, buttermilk, zest, and lemon juice. Pour into cooled pie shell, place in oven, and reduce heat to 325°. Bake until set on the edges but slightly wobbly in the center, about 1 hour. Let pie cool completely on a rack and refrigerate. Serve the pie cool rather than cold.

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