When I took a break from my Recipe for Love series of culinary romances to write the small-town Sanctuary Island series under the name Lily Everett, I knew I’d miss some things about the foodie focus I’d spent six books cultivating. But I thought at least it would be a relief not to have to develop and test recipes for every single story!
As it turns out, I missed sharing recipes too. For me, the food the characters eat together is an integral part of setting the scene, placing them in the context of their community’s food traditions, and showing the closeness and love that go along with cooking and eating together. In The Summer Cottage, the second novella in my digital-only Billionaire Brothers trilogy, the distant, stand-offish hero is tugged out of his comfort zone by his brother’s invitation to join him and his fiancée for dessert. And over a slice of buttermilk pie baked by Penny Little (the heroine of the first novella, The Firefly Café) the two brothers connect on a level that begins to expose the cracks in their relationship, and point the way toward healing for all three brothers in the third novella, Island Road.
Below is Penny Little’s recipe for buttermilk pie. Feel free to use it to entice friends and family over for a heart to heart…or hoard it all to yourself. Once you take a bite, you might not be eager to share, but just like love and friendship, buttermilk pie is even sweeter when you’re generous with it.
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 large eggs
juice of 1 or 2 lemons (to taste)
freshly grated nutmeg
1 pie shell
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a 9-inch pie pan with the rolled-out pie crust dough (or defrost your store-bought pie shell.) Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork, then line the crust with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Weigh the paper or foil down with uncooked beans or ceramic pie weights, then pre-bake the pie shell until golden, about 15 or 20 minutes.
While the pie shell is cooling, mix the butter, sugar and eggs in a food processor until creamy. Then add lemon rind and flour and give a quick pulse. Add liquid ingredients in two or three parts and pulse very briefly until blended.
Pour the filling into the partially baked pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake about 50 minutes until top begins to brown and center has set–which means when you shake the pan, it doesn’t jiggle a lot in the middle.
Penny and her boys love this pie hot or cold! Unadorned or garnished with summer fruit like sliced strawberries. For dessert or even for breakfast…