Maple Buttermilk Pie Bars


Buttermilk pie?  Have you had it? I hadn’t. It is supposedly originates in the south. With reports of creme brûlée-like creaminess and a slight tang from the buttermilk and sweetened with maple syrup, I said…SIGN ME UP.  Buttermilk makes biscuits better, pancakes better, and bread better….so why not pie!

Now, like everthything else, I can’t leave good enough alone. This recipe for maple buttermilk bars originated from a buttermilk pie recipe in a 2002 Gourmet article.  Instead of a pie, I decided to make this in bar form for easier transportability. With Thanksgiving and parties coming up, I thought bars would be easier to take than a pie. And, more than anything, I LOVE ME SOME FINGER FOOD.

For the crust, instead of a pie crust or shortbread or graham cracker crust, I went for a nutty pecan crust.  I have to say, that my favorite thing about this dessert, is the crust. This crust would be great beneath a cheesecake or fruit tart too.

The maple buttermilk filling is so easy to throw together. Make sure when baking these bars that you allow it to bake completely, or else you will have a runny goo. The filling is a bit flan-like. I find myself wishing it was creamier, but for you flan and custard lovers out there, this is a great dessert. And a great way to use that pesky extra buttermilk that is in the fridge. I like these best chilled.

Maple Buttermilk Pie Bars (serves 12) adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Filling
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup (preferably Grade B…but if you don’t have maple syrup, you can swap for brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of well shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine grained sea salt
  • dash of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9X13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. For crust, place all ingredients except butter in food processor. Process until a fine meal. Add melted butter and pulse until the ingredients come together to resemble a dough.
  3. Press pecan crust in the bottom of the 9X13 pan. Bake crust for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Mix up filling while baking crust. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs, 1at a time. Make sure there are no lumps.
  5. Stir in the maple syrup, buttermilk, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the  pre baked cuts. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the center sets, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar for an extra crunch.  Serve either at room temperature or chilled.
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