"I've lost my favorite recipe for buttermilk pie. It was reported to be a favorite of President Truman and served by a chef in the Navy," was the recent request from a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reader.

Dozens of the newspaper's readers sent recipes. One of them enclosed a clipping from the October 1994 issue of Midwest Living, which explained how the recipe got its name.Scripps Howard News Service

USS MISSOURI BUTTERMILK PIE

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust with edges of crust crimped high

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, gradually beat sugar into softened butter with an electric mixer, beating until mixture is well-blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour and salt. Gradually beat dry ingredients into butter mixture.

Beat in buttermilk until mixture is well-blended. Pour filling into crust.

Sprinkle toasted pecans over filling. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool. Store pie in refrigerator.

Yield: 8 servings.

Note: To toast chopped pecans, spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until browned, stirring once or twice during baking.

- Approximate nutrition information per serving: 511 calories; 26.5g fat (46 percent calories from fat): 6g protein; 65g carbohydrate; 113mg cholesterol; 1.5g fiber; 370mg sodium.

- The pie takes its name from the battleship Missouri, where Master Chief Steward Harry Hightower served it to President Harry Truman. When the president requested the recipe, the chief steward refused. But in 1970, Hightower retired and decided to share his famous recipe.