Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie

Did you spring break?  Break for spring.  I am still waiting on spring…but that is another story…I won’t talk about the snow that greeted me this morning that had me silently weeping and cursing mother nature and wishing I lived in where snow was not in the vernacular after the calendar moved beyond winter.  (side note…that snow was one week ago.  We had another 7 inches on this past Saturday.)  I am done.  That is my rant. It snowed.  boo hoo.  It’s spring.  Kinda.

I am instituting a break for spring next year.  Too early to make 2015 resolutions?  It is about being prepared, people.

I am going to drive south or south west until I reach a consistent day time temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have no real destination in mind.  No real plan mapped in my head.  Only warm weather, fresh air, flip flops, refreshing cocktails, good company.  That is all that is needed.  No cruises with added expeditions.  No all inclusive clubs that require a 20 hour flight and drinking water restrictions.  None of that.  Simple and quiet and warm.  In 2015, in March…for one week…that is where you will find me.  Fingers crossed.

Until then…I have pie!  No substitute for spring break vacation…but, it’s a decent consolation prize for like 34th place.
Lemon buttermilk chess pie is all about bringing the south to you.   And with hope in my heart, bringing warm weather as well.  I am sort of caught up on this warm weather bit…I apologize.

And we are rollin…

Pie Crust : Flour, salt, sugar.  Butter.  Buttermilk.  Kaboom.

Cold butter into flour.  Stop when butter is pea sized.  Work fast.  If butter gets to warm and begins to soften, place in freezer for 15 minutes until chilled again.  Continue on…

Buttermilk in.  Stir until combined.  Turn out onto floured surface…knead a few times, gently, until a soft shaggy dough ball forms.  Don’t overwork.  You might need a bit more buttermilk.  It depends.

Pie crust needs to chill out in the fridge…just for a bit.  Not something you want to skip.  That butter needs to get cold again and the gluten needs to some R and R.

My crust never seems to keep it’s nice crimped edges…but, I have it at some point during the process.  That is good enough for me.

Say Hello! to my pie beans.  Blind baking…not as scary as it sounds.

Gather.  Eggs, citrus, sugar, flour, corn meal, butter, buttermilk.  Basic winter pantry stock items.

I like using zest … it is about using the whole fruit.

We are squeezing every last bit out of these lemons….

 And that orange.  Just the juice though.

Rubbing zest into sugar is stress relieving … smashing zest into granules of sugar and then the heavy aroma of citrus making its way to your nose… talk about sugar scrub meets aroma therapy meets sweet lemon flavored sugar.  Hello, Heaven!

Cornmeal assists flour today in the thickening department…it also brings a bit of texture to the table too.

 Eggs.  5.

But first, melted butter.  Cooled.  And then those lovely eggs are whisked in.  Whisk with all your  might until it’s all smooth and silky.   We are pie baking and bicep building…

Lemon and orange juice.

Piled dirty dishes … small bowls piled … makes my innards feel good.

Whisked bubbles.

It’s a pour and bake situation.

Share it.  Totally share it. We are in the business of making people happy.  Pie = fast route to happiness.

Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie
Pie Crust
  • ½ Cup of Butter, cold (very)
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ Cup Buttermilk – very cold
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 5 Tablespoon Butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ Cup Buttermilk
  • 7 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Prepare Pie Crust
  1. Cut butter into small chunks or shred using a cheese grater. Place butter in freezer for about 10 minutes. While butter is chilling, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss butter in flour mixture and begin to break down the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers (this will be faster if you grate the butter). Work until butter is pea-sized. Return mixture to freezer for an additional 10 minutes – keeping the butter cold is key.
  2. Remove from freezer and form a well into the center of the mixture and pour in ice cold buttermilk all at once. With your hand or a fork, stir the flour into buttermilk well. A dough ball will begin to form, but the dough will be rather shaggy – if it remains rather dry, add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for an hour to chill out. This will give time for the butter to get cold again and the flour to get moist.
  3. After one hour, remove dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll dough out into a 12 inch wide circle. Transfer pie dough to a 9 inch pie dish and without stretching dough, tuck the pie dough into the dish. There will be excess dough hanging over edges. If needed, trim off anything beyond ½ inch or so. Crimp edges with thumb and pointer fingers. Place pie in freezer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F
  5. Remove from freezer and with a large piece of tinfoil (about 2 pie lengths) – line pie crust with tinfoil, tucking it along the bottom and edges. Leave a few inches of foil hanging over the edges for easy removal later. Fill tinfoil lined pie crust wtih dried beans.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and carefully remove tinfoil and dried beans. Set aside and reuse for future pies. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork 8 to 10 times. Return to oven and continue to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden brown. If the crust begins to puff up along the edges or bottom, poke tiny holes into those areas with a sharp paring knife. Remove from oven and let cool competely on a wire rack. Prepare filling.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon zest and both sugars. Rub zest into sugar using your fingers. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Stir in melted butter. Add eggs, mixing well between each addition. When all the eggs are added, stir filling briskly until thickened and light in color.
  4. Stir in buttermilk, lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  5. Strain mixture into partially pre baked pie crust and place in preheated oven. Bake until edges are puffed up and set and the center jiggles just a tad when it is nudged. The top will be golden brown. About 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t over bake.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack for 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. Stores in refrigerator up to 2 to 3 days.

Lemon Tart

I have taken a bit of a break.  Unexpected and unintentional….

Nights where I would normally plop down and flip on the TV to something mundane and focus most of my attention on editing photos – just a bit of a tweak…up-ing the contrast or brightness – not a whole lot, because in all honesty, I don’t understand photoshop one bit.  And then I try to write something down … generally the thoughts in my brain flood these pages….and more often than not, the words and thoughts have nothing to do with the recipes I post.  Which is fine.  And that is why I love blogging…there are no rules.  You can over share, under share.  It is up to you.  Or me.  More me than you…unless, you too, have a blog…which in that case you probably totally agree with me.

These nights of blogging haven’t been happening as of late.  Vegging out on the couch with a bourbon cocktail of some sort (or hot chocolate because it is still freaking freezing here in the great state of Ohio)  and watching Skyfall one more time or trying to watch Downton Abby Season 2  - which I just can’t get into.  I am a minority on this one, aren’t I?  My mind won’t stay focused.  Half way through and I am on Twitter.  Or find myself cleaning the kitchen.  Or looking for brownies in the freezer.  ADHD anyone?   Ugh.  I need Ritalin to watch Downton Abby.  I think I am calling it quits.  On to the next series.  I am taking recommendations. Anyone?

But here I am …getting back into some sort of routine.

WIth routine comes lemon tart, naturally.  There may be snow on the ground or freezing rain falling from the sky (ugh, really Ohio?)…but my daffodils are peeping through the ground and my mind is thinking spring.  As is my stomach.

Lemons are full on spring.  Right?  Bright and sunshiny….being that they are yellow.  Just makes sense.

Gather ingredients for your shortbread crust.  Carry them around in your favorite pie plate you may have swiped from your grandma.  The crack on the far edge makes me smile.  I am a lover of imperfections.

Your crust will need a lightly beaten egg.

Egg is like food spackle.   I work great with food spackle.  Real spackle.  Not. So. Much.

Fingerprinted crust.  You will need to Instagram this bad boy.  Normal, right?

I have a tendency to Instagram my weekend baking moments.

Bear with me.


Bright.  Sunshine.  Happy.


And if I must be honest…this tart was epic, if I may say so myself.

And I will.

Epic, people.


And delicious.

Tart. Bright. Sweet.

Just what this dreary March is in desperate need of.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Lemon Tart
Makes one 10 inch round tart.
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup), Room Temperature
  • ¼ Cup White Granulate Sugar
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten.
  • 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon, finely grated
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  1. Prepare the crust first. Whisk together salt and flour. Set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add beaten egg. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add flour and mix until ball forms – it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together.
  4. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10inch removable bottom tart pan. Place the dough into the prepared pan and with your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place crust in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes at 400F. Decrease oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare lemon curd filling.
  8. Prepare filling. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. Also, have a mesh strainer at the ready.
  9. in a medium sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Place over medium-low to medium heat and cook until butter melts. Stirring occasionally.
  10. Once butter is melted, slowly whisk about ½ cup of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm(or temper) them.
  11. Scrape the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens – about 20 minutes.
  12. Place mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and strain mixture, pressing the mixture through with a rubber spatula.
  13. Pour mixture into pre-baked tart shell and place in oven (at 350F) for about 5 to 10 minutes to set the filling.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

* lemon curd filling adapted from David Lebovitz


Lemon Cookies…it’s a small thing.

It’s the little things in life …

Little things, simple things… that occur every day.  They (whoever they are…) say it’s the secret to happiness…enjoying the little things.  And I agree…completely and whole heartedly.  A day can be made great by noticing the small things.

Big, grandious things are awesome, don’t get me wrong….

But let’s get real, vacations, birthdays, holidays, weddings, and parades…they don’t happen every day.   But the simple things, the small happenings, they DO occur every day… that is what it is all about….I am a huge fan of these little pieces of joy that life tosses in our path ….and this week, there have been many things to smile about…

A few simple things I have enjoyed this week…… 

Read More »

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Tomorrow is Labor Day (well when you read this, it will be Labor Day) … So happy Labor Day!  Can’t believe summer is unofficially over, seems crazy.  But I like fall, so bring it on. 

How did you fill your holiday weekend?   A final pool party, trip to the beach, or lake?  Cookouts and cornhole?  Did you catch some college football? 

I was pretty low key all weekend, hanging out with some friends at the lake, and not doing much of anything.  Today, on the actual holiday, I am running a 5k Bier Run, at the local Oktoberfest.  I think its a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease, but I am doing it mainly for the t-shirt.  :)  Its reason enough for me to run 3.1 miles.  I will let you know how it goes. 

When I get home from my run, toting my t-shirt proudly, and hopefully proud of my time…I will eat a thick slice of this here bread.  I think it will be well deserved (kinda).  This here bread is my final salute to summer.  I know, peaches and apples are more in season right now, but I needed one last bright, refreshing taste of summer, before I dive stomach first into fall! 

Lemon blueberry bread is my answer.  For a taste of summer, lemons will always be my answer, Oh! and blueberries…well they are my all time favorite.  So, in my world, this is a match made in heaven.  Over the weekend, we didn’t know if this lemony loaf should be called a cake or a bread.  Its like a muffin loaf.  Call it what you want, I’ll call it good. 

Lemon Blueberry Cake/Bread

adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 1 Loaf


  • 1 +1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Flour, extra
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest – 3 Lemons
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 Cup Melted Butter, cooled slightly
  • 1 Cup Blueberries, fresh, rinsed, and picked over for stems
  • 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice – 4 to 5 lemons
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar




Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray/butter loaf pan.  Fitting a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan,will ease removal.

In a mixing bowl, sift together 1 + 1/2 Cups flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together, eggs, 3/4 Cup sugar, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla.  Slowly whisk in flour mixture.  Fold in melted butter until incorporated. 

Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp of flour and then fold blueberries into the batter.

Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and place in oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  Or until toothpick comes out clean.  If loaf is getting too brown on top, loosely tent with a piece of tinfoil. 

While cake is baking, place 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice in small saucepan over low heat and cook until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and let cool. 

When cake is done, remove from oven, and let cool for ten minutes.  After ten minutes, remove cake from pan, and place on a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Take a toothpick or skewer and poke holes evenly all over the cake and using a pastry brush, brush the lemon-sugar mixture over the warm cake.  Let it soak in.  (you can pour the mixture over the cake, but brushing it on works best).  Cool completely before slicing.


Berry Crisp

I have this new found love for Jeff Bridges.  The drunken, dried up, cowboy/country singer is played well by him.  I am not sure if that is a compliment or not, but I liked him in Crazy Heart and just finished True Grit and I have to say I enjoyed that as well.  Who knew?  Well, a few people, since he was an Oscar nominee for both and won once…

I suppose I should have known. 

I bet Jeff Bridges likes berry crisps.  He looks like a lover of crisps.  I like guys that like crisps…keeps me from eating the whole crisp.  Which my thighs thank you for, by the way.  I have used the word crisp a lot in the last 3 sentences…Crisp, one more for good measure. 

This crisp is super easy to make.  Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you.  Not my style. 

I was raised with crisps that were topped with a combination of white and brown sugar, flour, and butter.  No oats.  Oats were not allowed.  Oats were not included.  Oats were forbidden.  But with some careful consideration I now, sometimes add oats…they are nice every now and then.  However,  my mom’s apple crisp – that, by tradition, can not, will not, should not ever contain oats.  It just wouldn’t be the same.  A chilled fall night with apple crisp that contained oats would feel foreign and wrong.  So very wrong.  I am pretty serious about my crisps. 

So are you ready to make a crisp? 

Lets roll…


You will need 8 cups of mixed berries.  I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  I also tossed in an apple because it was sitting there…



Mix berries with corn starch, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest…pour into a DEEP dish pie plate.  Set aside.



Butter, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, oats, salt…mix until it looks like this…



Sprinkle it over the berries similar to the above…



Bake until it looks like this…Oh, how I love thee


Serve it up or…when no one is looking, eat straight from the dish.  Its best that way.  Just say that there was a lingering berry or the edge needed straightened if you are caught in the act…or just give ’em a fork and have at it – they will thank you for the gesture because they too were dying to dig in.  Fact.

Berry Crisp

Serves 6 to 8

*I used a 10 inch deep dish pie plate.  If you are using a shallow dish, then halve the filling…simple as that.*



  • 8 Cups Mixed Berries.  I used strawberries (sliced), blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a sliced apple (because it was there)…you pick the mix.
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch – Juicy berries require more cornstarch.
  • 2/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

Crumb Topping

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose White Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats ( instant is fine too)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter – chilled and cut up into chunks.



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash all berries and pat dry. 

In a large bowl, toss together berries, corn starch, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.   Pour them into a deep dish pie plate.  Set aside. 

In another large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, white sugar, oats, salt, and butter pats.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until butter is pea-sized.  You can pulse everything in a food processor if you are in a hurry – but oats will not remain whole, so proceed with caution. 

Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the berries.  Place on a cookie sheet and then place in oven.  (cookie sheet will catch anything that may boil over the edge…therefore preventing smoke from rolling out of your oven)

Bake in preheated oven for 1+1/2 hours (deep dish pie plate) or 30 to 40 minutes (shallow pan).  The berries will be bubbly along the edges and the top will be golden brown. 

Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

*I do not like a runny crisp, so I baked mine about 20 to 30 minutes beyond the bubbling edge stage, ensuring that the cornstarch thickened the juices. 

*If the top gets too brown, then loosely cover with tin-foil. 

*If you remove from the oven and let it cool and then realize that it is too runny for your liking, toss it back in the oven.  No harm, no foul.  This is a very forgiving thing, this crisp.