Buttermilk as a drinking option might be a bit of an acquired taste, but when it’s called for in baking, it’s almost a guarantee that the recipe is bona fide Southern home cooking delicious.
Buttermilk is a pasteurized, cultured milk somewhat similar to yogurt or kefir. It’s considered a great probiotic and, more importantly, it is the key ingredient in delicious recipes like buttermilk pie.
If you’ve found yourself with more buttermilk that you know what to do with, baking a pie is one of the best ways you can deal with such a fantastic problem. But the real question is if you bake your pie in advance or make multiples, can you freeze buttermilk pie to eat at a later date?
Yes, you can freeze buttermilk pie, so long as you take a few precautions to make sure you don’t end up with a weepy pie when you’re ready to eat it.
What Is Buttermilk Pie
Buttermilk pie is a perfect example of good ole’ fashioned Southern comfort food. It’s made from simple ingredients, straight off the farm and inexpensive – eggs, buttermilk, sugar, and butter. It uses flour for thickening and a little vanilla with a bit of lemon for flavor.
This is an all-around perfect dessert, being quick and easy to throw together when family or friends show up on your porch unannounced. It’s great for any weather, hot or cold.
The filling only takes about 5 minutes to whip up, and once it’s baked, it tastes just as delicious slightly warm in the winter, or refrigerator cooled in the summer.
The texture is full of layers, being slightly lighter, like a pudding on the bottom near the crust, and thicker, more like a cheesecake near the top. The piece de resistance has to be the caramelized sugar that forms on the very surface. It’s not crunchy, like a crème brulee, so it won’t cling to your teeth, but it will give you all the same warm fuzzy feelings that only happens when you taste a truly special treat.
If you want an even more decadent variation, you can add cream cheese to the mix in order to achieve a filling that lives somewhere between not quite a custard, not quite a cheesecake.
You make it almost the same, just blend half an 8 oz package of cream cheese into the mix. If you want even more of a cheesecake experience, use a graham cracker crust instead of a traditional pie crust.
Can You Freeze Buttermilk Pie – The Complete Guide
Buttermilk itself freezes well, aside from the fact that the consistency gets thrown off, so it isn’t great for drinking after it has thawed. When it’s going into baking, that doesn’t present a problem at all.
However, when you’re talking about freezing buttermilk as a filling, things can get a little bit trickier. You have two options for freezing buttermilk pie.
Freezing Buttermilk Pie
Option 1: Freeze the fully baked pie.
This is the riskier option. Your filling will be a basic custard, and if custard is even the least bit overcooked, it will break down ever so slightly. If it’s eaten right away, you won’t notice the difference, but there will be tiny pockets of water that form.
When you freeze it like this, those small pockets of water turn to ice, which go back into water when it’s thawed. The water won’t reabsorb into your custard, but will potentially leave you with a weepy pie, waterlogged crust, and general disappointment.
If you’re determined to freeze your buttermilk pie fully baked, just be sure to watch your clock and don’t overcook your filling. Consider yourself warned…dessert is at stake here!
For best freezing of a fully baked buttermilk pie, follow these steps:
- Make sure your pie is completely cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated
- Cover the custard surface with plastic wrap
- Wrap the entire pie in aluminum foil, as airtight as possible
- Stick a label on it with the date – 3 months is the absolute longest you’ll want to keep your pie frozen
- Make sure you don’t put anything on it to avoid crushing and caving
Option 2: Prepare your pie crust & custard separately.
When you’re in a mood to bake, you can create and bake your pie crust and make your buttermilk custard filling. But if you’re not planning on eating the pie just yet, don’t put the filling in the pie.
Instead, freeze each component separately so that, when you are ready to eat the pie, you can carefully re-establish your buttermilk custard filling before putting it in the pie and baking it just like fresh.
To freeze your pie parts separately, follow these steps:
- Bake your pie crust according to directions and let it cool completely before you freeze it. Simply wrap it as airtight as possible with aluminum foil or plastic wrap
- Make your buttermilk custard according to directions and make sure it’s completely cooled before transferring it to a freezer-safe, airtight Tupperware container or freezer bag
- Don’t let your delicious dessert wait for any longer than 3 months, but the sooner you bake the better
Thawing And Reheating Frozen Buttermilk Pie
Option 1: Thawing a previously baked pie.
- Thaw the pie overnight in your fridge, NOT on your counter, which can put your custard at risk of breaking
- Eat cold or warmed to room temperature. Reheating your pie might cause it to become a little runny, and nobody likes a runny pie
Option 2: Thawing individually frozen buttermilk pie parts.
- Leave your crust in the freezer until you’re ready to fill and bake, which can be done with a frozen pie crust
- For the filling –
- Thaw in your fridge overnight, not on the counter – don’t rush it
- Once defrosted, give your buttermilk custard a good whisk. If you’re happy with the consistency, fill and bake your pie according to the directions
- If your custard has broken, warm it on low to medium heat in a good saucepan, whisking frequently. This might be enough to bring back it’s luster
- If it’s still too watery or grainy you can try adding a tiny bit of warmed buttermilk – 1 Tbsp at a time – whisking vigorously until you’re happy with the consistency again
Alternative Storing Options For Buttermilk Pie
Once you’ve baked a buttermilk pie, chances are it’s going to disappear quite quickly. If you don’t end up freezing it, you can cover it tightly with plastic wrap to store it for consumption in the near future.
Buttermilk pie will keep on your counter for up to 3 days if it’s in a cool room and not exposed to direct sunlight. It will last an additional day or two if you refrigerate it and hide it behind a bunch of vegetables so that nobody else knows it’s there.
It’s a pretty sturdy pie, but it really shouldn’t be left unrefrigerated in hot or humid air.
Can you freeze buttermilk?
Buttermilk freezes surprisingly well for a dairy product, so long as you’re planning on cooking or baking with it, and when properly frozen will last for up to 3 months. It’s best to freeze it as fresh as possible, so as soon as you know you have more than you can use, get it in the freezer.
One of the most popular ways to freeze buttermilk is in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, you can pop them out and store them in a freezer safe Ziploc bag to keep them not only in handy to use cubes, but as fresh as possible. It’s always a good idea to label your bag with the date frozen so you know how long your buttermilk has been in the freezer.
Is it better to freeze a pie before or after baking?
For almost all pies, it’s better to freeze them unbaked. This will keep your crust in perfect condition and make sure that your filling doesn’t get over-cooked.
If you’re planning on going straight from the freezer to the oven in the future, make sure you use a metal pan for freezing, and be prepared to add an extra 20 minutes to the baking time to compensate for the frozen state.
What’s the difference between buttermilk pie and chess pie?
Both chess pie and buttermilk pie are deliciously Southern desserts that look similar in their soft, beige creaminess, but they are quite different. Chess pie has a gooey filling made with cornmeal, along with other baking favorites like sugar, eggs, and butter.
Buttermilk pie filling is made primarily with – you guessed it – buttermilk! It’s a creamy custard filling and the crust usually features bright, fresh notes of lemon zest for a little added zing.