You know a pie recipe is old when several stories are told about its history. Some say the term “chess pie” goes back to an eighteenth-century English cheese pie. Another links the origins of the name to the Southern pie chest, or pie safe, a piece of furniture that holds kitchen confections. Another anecdote tells of a man who stopped to eat at a diner in Alabama. He loved the pie he was served, and when he asked what its name was, the waitress replied, “jes pie.” Whatever the truth may be, as food writer Stephanie Anderson Witmer says, “So many Southern pies, like the chess pies, are elegant in their simplicity. They use staple ingredients, but are divine.”–Mollie Cox Bryan
LC What Occasion? Note
Given that this pleasantly homey dessert comes together from pantry staples, it’s perfect for any afternoon or last-minute occasion.
Lemon Chess Pie
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 55 M
- Makes one 9-inch
- 1/2 recipe Vinegar Pie Crust, rolled out
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C). Line a 9-inch pie plate with the rolled-out Vinegar Pie Crust. (For a particularly crisp crust, consider parbaking the crust per the instructions in the pastry recipe.)
- 2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the cornmeal, followed by the lemon juice, mixing just until combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
- 3. Bake the pie for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling is a deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before slicing.