Elliott Smith once said, "A lot of people are kind of depressed. I'm happy some of the time, and some of the time I'm not."
I think that encompasses living. Living is a continuous expanse of blissful hills of joy and abysmal valleys of loss. We all experience those feelings constantly in varying degrees and to different depths. Creatively-inclined individuals are not the only ones who truly feel the thorns of sorrow. We all do. And you don't have to be a potter or a baker to fully embrace all the facets hurt and healing.
I think when we do something like bake a pie, write a play, prune a tree or tinker under the hood of a truck, we engage our bodies and our brains in a dance of healing that neutralizes the raw emotion and re-dresses the wound. It temporarily filters the chaos in our minds and it provides us with something tangible despite the emptiness.
We have to take the remnants of what is gone and make something beautiful.
Makes 2 cups
A good general rule for making buttermilk is one tablespoon of buttermilk "starter" for every cup of milk. After you make the buttermilk, you can save a bit of it to make your next batch. Alternatively, you can make butter and get buttermilk that way!
2 tbsp cultured buttermilk
2 cups raw or pasteurized whole milk
In a mason jar or other container, add the cultured buttermilk and then cover with the milk. Place cheesecloth or a clean coffee filter over the opening of the jar and let sit in a warm place for at least 8-10 hours, or until the mixture has "clabbered." The buttermilk is ready when it is thick enough that the mixture moves away from the jar's edge in a single mass when the jar is tipped. I actually left mine to culture for 24 hours because I love the extra extra tang, but this amount of time is not at all necessary.
Replace the cheesecloth or filter with a lid, seal the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before use. Shake well.
Makes 1 - 9" Pie
1/2 recipe pie dough
150 g (3 large) eggs
396 g (2 cups) sugar
30 g (1/4 cup) flour
113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
112 g (1/2 cup) buttermilk, shaken well
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Roll out the chilled pie dough and form it into a 9" pie or tart pan that is around 2" deep. Chill the pie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or the freezer for 15.
Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, briefly whisk the eggs and sugar and then combine with the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Whisk well to combine.
Pour the mixture into the chilled pie shell, tap it gently a few times against the counter to release air bubbles and then place the pie on the center rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the filling isn't liquid-like. A firm jiggle is what you're looking for. The top of the filling will become flaky and turn beautiful golden brown. If at any point the crust starts to darken too much, shield it and continue baking until the filling is set.
Let the pie cool completely on a rack before serving.
The flavor will improve overnight.