This Chess Pie recipe has a sweet custard filling that is golden brown on the top and dusted with powdered sugar. Perfect for Thanksgiving.
Our favorite pie is homemade pecan pie from my cousin’s grandma and now this chess pie is a close second since is it almost the same thing without the pecans! It’s easy to make and perfect for Thanksgiving.
Chess Pie Ingredients
Chess pie only requires simple ingredients you may already have stocked in your kitchen! Here is what is called for in the recipe as well as some substitution suggestions.
- Pie Pastry: You’ll need the dough for one nine-inch pie crust. You can make a homemade pie pastry or use a store-bought one.
- Sugars: The main sweetener for this pie is granulated sugar but we also added a little brown sugar for additional flavor. You can use all granulated sugar if you prefer.
- Thickeners: We used equal amounts of cornmeal and all-purpose flour for the thickeners. You can use a double amount of either one, rather than the combination, depending on what you have available.
- Eggs: There are four large eggs in this recipe. The eggs provide structure, add flavor, and give it a custard texture.
- Liquid: For the liquids, this recipe calls for heavy cream along with vinegar which is basically buttermilk. You can swap the heavy cream and vinegar out for an equal amount of buttermilk if you prefer.
- Butter: The melted butter combines with the sugar to give the pie a delicious caramel flavor.
- Vanilla: A little vanilla brings adds a lot of flavor to the pie. Choose pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Salt: We also added some salt for additional flavor.
How To Make Chess Pie
Chess Pie is so easy to make! Prepare the crust, mix all of the ingredients at once, and bake! You can make this pie ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator so that you have one less thing to bake on serving day.
- Crust: Roll out the pie pastry dough and place it in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and flute the edges and then chill the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Filling: Once the pie crust has chilled, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, yellow cornmeal, flour, eggs, cream, vinegar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Bake: Cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil. Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes, removing the pie shield for the final 10-15 minutes of baking.
- Chill: Cool the pie completely on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
This basic chess pie recipe can be the starting point for other variations! If you like chocolate, you can add chocolate chips or if you like lemon desserts, add lemon juice. Here are a few to try:
- Chocolate Chess Pie: Stir 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips into the filling and then bake as directed.
- Lemon Chess Pie: Use an equal amount of lemon juice instead of the heavy cream and vinegar called for in this recipe.
- Buttermilk: Use an equal amount of buttermilk instead of the heavy cream and vinegar called for in this recipe.
- Coconut: Spread a cup of toasted coconut flakes over the pie crust before adding the filling.
Chess Pie Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few theories about why it is called chess pie. One says it is called that because the pie was stored in a pie chest. Another is that when a southern woman was asked what kind of pie she made, her reply was “It’s jus’ pie” which sounded like chess pie with her accent.
It tastes like a pecan pie without the pecans. It has a sweet, caramel flavor with a custard texture.
Yes, after allowing the pie to cool on a pie rack, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
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