The history of the chess pie is debatable. Many contribute its origin to England, but those who have lived in the south their entire lives know it is as southern as peach pie.
To describe the many variations of chess pie that I have tasted, I would sum up the experience as a pecan pie without the pecans, and in their place, a little bit of cream. Just like a pecan pie, chess pie is one of the easiest pies you can make. Almost impossible to muck up.
A flaky tender crust sits at the base of the custard-like filling. And because the filling is so neutral, you can flavor the pie with almost anything.
Chess pie is sometimes referred to as buttermilk pie or vinegar pie.
For my summer version, I went with lemons and fresh pineapple sage from the garden. The custard is made using fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. I add in pineapple sage by seeping cream with it and using it throughout the recipe.
This recipe comes from my mom’s favorite community cookbook and gets an update. Here is another recipe that I did the same thing with.
I always make my own pie crust because the taste is so much better than store-bought. A ratio of half butter and half lard is my preference for fat. You are your own baker, so use any recipe for a crust that you like or even use a premade one!
- For Pie Crust:
- 2 1/2 Cups of Flour
- 1 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
- 1/2 Cup of Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 Cup of Cold Lard
- 4 to 8 Tablespoons of Ice Water
- For Pie:
- 4 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of Yellow Corn Meal
- 1 Tablespoon of Flour
- 3 Teaspoons of Grated Lemon Zest
- 3/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
- 1/4 Cup of Melter Butter
- 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup of Pineapple Sage
- First make the pie crust.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crust.
- Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter and lard. You want the crumbs to resemble various sized beans.
- Once the crumbs are at the desired size, pour in 4 tablespoons of the ice water.
- Gently begin to press the dough together to form a ball. If more water is needed ad it.
- Once you have a ball of pie dough formed, divide it into two.
- Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and allow them to rest for at least one hour in the fridge.
- Save the second ball of dough for another use.
- After the pie dough has chilled and rested, begin making your pie.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll out one of the balls of dough, on a well floured surface, to a 12 inch circle. This is for a 9 inch pie pan.
- Place the pie crust into the pie pan, then form edges to your desired design.
- Poke holes in the bottom of the crust, then weight it down with parchment paper and pie weights.
- Bake the crust for approximately 15 minutes.
- Once baked removed the crust from oven, remove the pie weights, and set aside.
- Make the pie filling.
- Steep the pineapple sage in the heavy cream by placing the two in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Steep for approximately 10 minutes, and do not allow the cream to come to a boil.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a mixing bowl, combine your sugar, flour, and cornmeal.
- Stir the eggs into the dry mixture, one at time. Mixing each until well combined.
- Whisk in the melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup of the steeped cream.
- Pour filling mixture into the pie crust, and bake for 1 hour.
- If your pie crust starts to brown, cover with foil.
- To finish the pie, whisk the remaining steeped cream until a medium stiffness whipped cream is formed.
- Spread whipped cream over the top of the cooled pie and garnish with chopped pineapple sage.