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Buttermilk pies tempt customers to stop in all instances

Pie company uses only 6 to 8 ingredients and locally grown fruits

POSTED: June 18, 2014 1:00 a.m.

With his wife’s contractions coming every three minutes in the car on the way to the hospital, Bradley Blazek had to stop — for pie.

“We wanted to do a natural birth, but they’re not always so supportive of the method because of new technologies,” Blazek said. “So, we decided that bribery with pie was the best way to keep them busy.”

The Gainesville couple, who had become regulars at the Buttermilk Pie Co., decided to treat the hospital staff to the delicious buttermilk and caramel pecan pies.

The buttermilk pie had nurses coming from all areas of the hospital to indulge in Amanda Wilbanks’ creation, despite the fact that Blazek’s wife was still in labor.

About 33 hours of labor and two pies later, Blazek returned to Buttermilk Pie Co. for a pair of chocolate chess pies to thank the staff.

“If they hadn’t loved the pie, they probably would have forced a C-section,” Blazek said with a grin.

Amanda Wilbanks, who owns the pie shop and makes the pies daily, was so astounded by the story she posted it on the company’s Facebook page.

Wilbanks grew up making homemade biscuits but never tried her hand at pie until her mother-in-law came down with a recipe for buttermilk pie. Wilbanks learned to make pie dough from scratch and followed the recipe with her mother-in-law, Sandy, with a skeptic thought about being called “buttermilk.”

“When I tried it, it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth,” she said. “It doesn’t taste anything like buttermilk.”

After the experience, she decided to perfect making the pie dough and the buttermilk pie because it’s her husband’s favorite. Soon, Wilbanks was giving them to neighbors as gifts, if she could keep her husband, Alex, from them before she got out the door. She also sold them at the Mule Camp Market in October.

“It took me about three to four months to get the pie right, and all of the recipes were developed with my mother-in-law’s help,” Amanda Wilbanks said.

After a couple of more successful days at festivals, Wilbanks decided she could turn her favorite pie into a business. Now, the company sells the buttermilk pie made from the original recipe, along with a number of others and a pie of the month. Buttermilk and caramel pecan are the shop’s two best-sellers.

“It has a smooth taste and texture,” Wilbanks said of the signature pie. “It’s an egg custard that is very light and fresh, like creme brulee in a pie shell.”

Wilbanks recommends trying the pie with fresh fruit as a topping or side during the summer months. She added all Buttermilk pies are made with fresh, all-natural ingredients that are purchased from local businesses.

“Our pies have maybe six to eight ingredients, and there’s no artificial flavoring or dyes,” Wilbanks said. “Our fruit comes from Jaemor or J&J Foods, and there’s less than 3/4 cup of sugar in our fruit pies.”

The company is experimenting with gluten-free and vegan options and hopes to introduce a gluten-free savory tomato pie in the upcoming months.

For July, Buttermilk will offer an American flag-shaped group of tassies, or bite-sized pies, with a cheesecakelike filling topped with strawberries and blueberries to create the stars and stripes.

“We will also bring back our peach pie in August,” Wilbanks said.

Baker explains her signature buttermilk pie

Pie store owner Amanda Wilbanks recounts her business' beginning and its operation now.


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