Strawberry Buttermilk Pie

The first time I heard about buttermilk pie, I was very skeptical. It sounded too strange for this California girl. I was looking for something different to enter into the local fair that year, so I decided to give it a try. I was very glad I did. The flavor is reminiscent of a cheesecake. For the skeptics out there, just give it a try. This version has fresh strawberries, though you can use frozen if that is what you have. Just make sure to thaw and drain first.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 9-inch pie shell (unbaked) or 8 4-inch mini pie shells
10-16 strawberries, cut in quarters
2-3 teaspoons of cornstarch

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add the softened butter and cream the mixture. Once combined and fluffy, add in buttermilk, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Carefully pour the mixture into the pie or tart shells.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the strawberry pieces to lightly coat, and divide evenly among the tart shells. If using one 9-inch shell, spread the strawberries evenly in the custard.

Bake at 350F degrees for 20-25 minutes (or 30 for a 9-in pie), or until filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Variations: swirl a teaspoon of your favorite jam in the buttermilk custard in each tart shell; substitute other berries for the strawberries; garnish with toasted coconut or candied nuts.

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