Sugar, eggs, flour and butter. Just four ingredients make up a traditional chess pie, yet there are thousands of recipes and variations.
Lisa Donovan is the pastry chef at Husk restaurant in Nashville. We spotted her Buttermilk Chess Pie while watching the second season of Mind of a Chef on PBS. She says chess pie is a dessert that defines Southern bakers:
“The really great thing about chess pie is that it speaks to what a Southern baker is at heart – someone who uses what they have on hand…In my opinion, that’s why Southern bakers makes some of the best baked goods. They can really just size up their pantry and make something taste super delicious with whatever they happen to have on hand. And this pie is a good example of that method of cooking.”
At this year’s pie contest, we added a Cooked Custard category so that pies like chess pie and pumpkin pie would have a proper home. This recipe for Lisa’s Buttermilk Chess Pie is a great starting point for bakers inspired to enter the Cooked Custard category. You can listen to Lisa’s interview with Evan on the Pie Cast.
Don’t forget to enter your pie in the 6th Annual Good Food Pie Contest! Click here to enter. The deadline is September 28th at 11:55pm.
Makes filling for 2 10” Pies
1c All Purpose Flour
8oz Melted Butter
Zest and Juice of Two Lemons
Scrapings of one vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 375.
Prepare two pie shells in the pans and freeze while you prepare the filling.
Whisk sugar, salt and flour together, using the sugar to break up the flour lumps. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Add dry to eggs and milk. Slowly whisk in slightly cooled, melted butter. Add lemon and vanilla.
Pour filling in the prepared/frozen pie shells. Place on a sheet pan and place in oven, turning oven down to 350 once you close the door. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn oven down to 325 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until your pie is set but still jiggly.
Serve room temp or cold. Store overnight in refrigerator.