Niles Pie’s Vanilla Buttermilk Custard Pie with Passion Fruit Curd or Cranberry Goo

“Passion fruit curd is outrageous. I want to bathe in it.”
—Niles Pie Co. founder Carolyn Berke

“We have been lucky recipients of lots of passion fruit this season from a generous neighbor whose vines are having a great year,” says Niles Pie Co. founder Carolyn Berke. “Passion fruit curd is deeeelicious on and in everything and will keep in the fridge for more than a week, although I wouldn’t know, since it has never been around that long in our kitchen.”
Berke’s head baker, Sarah Vegas, showed more restraint and instead of eating the curd, tried stirring some into their buttermilk pie.

She also likes the cranberry goo variation of this pie. Yet another option is to stir some pomegranate jelly into the filling and decorate the pie with pomegranate arils and sliced fuyu persimmons.

Makes two 8- or 9-inch pies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
3 cups high quality cultured buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla or brandy
2 pre-baked pie shells (Purchase pre-made pie shells or make your own with the recipe below.)

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Thoroughly whisk together sugars, flour, and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, and brandy or vanilla. Combine dry and wet ingredients, whisking thoroughly to dissolve any lumps. Pour into the cooled prebaked shells. If you want to do one of the variations, carefully swirl or spoon in 1 cup of your curd, goo, or jelly. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes until set.

Passion Fruit Curd

Passion fruit are ripe when they look very wrinkly. Slice in half, scoop the flesh into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, and press the pulp (juice) through, extracting and discarding the seeds. You will need about 8 to 10 medium fruits for ⅔ cup juice.

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange or Meyer lemon zest
⅔ cup fresh passion fruit juice
8 large egg yolks (egg whites reserved for another use)
Pinch salt
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks or 5 ounces) unsalted butter

Whisk together the sugar, zest, juice, yolks, and salt in a small saucepan. Add the butter and warm slowly over low heat, stirring constantly and patiently as the curd slowly thickens. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle the egg. The curd is ready when it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Dip in your mixing spoon, let the mixture run off, and if you can run your finger across the back and leave a trail, it is ready. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the curd through a strainer to remove the zest and any bits of egg. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Cool before refrigerating.

Cranberry Goo

Makes about 2½ cups

1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, rinsed and any bad berries discarded
1½ cups sugar
Juice and zest of 1 orange

Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over very low heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, then raise heat to medium and cook, stirring until the berries pop and a loose jam has formed. Cool completely before using.

Niles Pie Sweet Pie Dough

Yield: Enough dough for 2 single-crust pie shells

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Put flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter all at once and pulse about 15 times until the butter is the size of baby peas or smaller. Dump the flour/butter mix into a very large mixing bowl and add the water. With one hand, use a plastic scraper to mix the dough. Do this gently but thoroughly. If you need more water, add by the tablespoon until your dough comes together and is not crumbly. Divide dough in two pieces, one just a little bigger than the other, pat into two neat circles, wrap in plastic or waxed paper, and refrigerate for an hour or more (up to over night).

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes until just softened enough to make rolling a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle that’s about 1/8-inch thick. As you roll out the dough, make sure it is not sticking to the surface, and add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough as necessary. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate and gently press down to line the bottom and sides of the plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

Add filling to the pie.

Roll out second disk of dough as before. Gently place over the filling and pinch the top and bottom crusts firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears to leave a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.