30 July 2013

The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook

When I was a kid in Alabama, my great-aunt, Ruth, kept a jug of clabber in the larder.  As a kid, I was totally disgusted.   As an adult, not a week goes by that I don't bemoan the fact that I never learned how to make Ruth's clabber.  It started with a mother that sat there for years, never once going in the refrigerator.  She seemed to use milk made from a powdered milk.  I always thought that was false until I read up on cheese making and found that the ultra-pasteurized milk found in every store will not make cheese but powdered milk will.  Odd, I know.  Still, I have no clabber recipe, so I am relegated to that stuff in the supermarket called buttermilk which is not really "butter" milk at all, but just milk with a bit of culture and thickener thrown into the mix.  Well, I digress...

Today's cookbook is The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook by Diane St. Clair.  St. Clair has a dairy in Orwell, Vermont.  As you know from reading this blog, we do love Orwell -- George Orwell and rarely does one find a cookbook and an Orwell reference all in one!  In the culinary world, Diane St. Clair is famous for being the personal butter maker for Thomas Keller.   After a hard day of making butter for Per Se, there is buttermilk to be had.  If anyone knows how to use all that buttermilk, it is Diane St. Clair. 

We will not be holding against St. Clair that she is in Vermont by way of New York.   We will try to get our readers to refrain from making her cornbread.  While she calls it "tender" we call it "Yankee" as it has enough sugar to make sweet tea!  But there are other sweet things in the book we are fond of, like the raspberry buttermilk tart.   Raspberries are probably our favorite fruit of summer and this is a delightful way to show them off.

Raspberry Buttermilk Tart

1 Buttermilk Piecrust, arranged in a 10-inch fluted tart pan
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Set the tart pan on a baking sheet.  Bake the piecrust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let the crust cool slightly, and then Spread the raspberries in the crust.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour.  Mix in the egg yolks and lemon juice  and , zest, and then beat in the butter.  Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Pour the mixture over the raspberries.

3. Set the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center. Let cool before serving.

Rumor has it, this is actually better if you let it sit for a day, but I can't really see that happening.  What you need to do is make two -- you're heating the oven anyway.  Then you can have one for dinner and hide one in the back of the fridge for later.

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