In the pantheon of Southern sweeteners, cane syrup ranks high for me. There is this earthy caramel note I adore. Cane syrup is made from a sugar cane breed, ribbon cane, that grows in the South. There are now farmers creating fantastic cane syrups using traditional methods that are well worth seeking out, and the more widely available Steen’s cane syrup is deep and delicious. I am particularly fond of Poirier’s and stock up when each batch is released, but I also find amazing cane syrup at those little country stores and farm markets that sell chow-chow and watermelon rind pickles and all sorts of Southern delicacies. Cane syrup is not tooth-achingly sweet, but has a pure, clean finish that marries beautifully in this simple pie. A hint of lemon is the perfect foil.
The beautiful amber color of the finished pie is perfect for fall, and I find its speckled golden surface reminiscent of beautiful autumn leaves. I sometimes add a dollop of whipped cream, but the pie is perfect on its own. At the end of the baking process, the center of the pie puffs up like a pan of Jiffy Pop, but it settles nicely into a rich, dense, sweet treat.
Cane Syrup Pie
1 pie crust for a 9-inch pie
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup cane syrup
4 large eggs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Fit the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with ceramic pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Whisk the sugar, flour and salt together in a large bowl, then beat in the cane syrup. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the melted butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and buttermilk until well blended. Pour into the pie crust, then bake the pie for 50 – 60 minutes until puffed in the center and set. This pie will really puff up!
Cool completely before serving. The pie can be covered and refrigerated, but is best served at room temperature.
Serves 6 – 8