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Lemon Chess Pie

According to Wikipedia, “Chess pie is a dessert characteristic of Southern U.S. cuisine. Recipes vary, but are generally similar in that they call for the preparation of a single crust and a filling composed of eggs, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. What sets chess pie apart from many other custard pies is the substitution of corn meal for flour. Some recipes also call for corn syrup, which tends to create a more gelatinous consistency. The pie is then baked. The resulting pie is very sweet and often consumed with coffee in order to offset this…”  The addition of lemon to the recipe helps the sweetness issue quite a bit, and lends a very pleasing overall tartness to the dessert.

The origin of the name is somewhat unclear, although folklore suggests that when asked by her husband what kind of dessert she was making, a Southern housewife answered “jes’ pie.”   I rather like that explanation, myself.

This was my mother’s hands-down favorite pie and began making an appearance on her holiday table the last ten or so years of her life.  After I moved up north, I realized I hadn’t had one since Mom passed away, and began searching for a recipe that she would have liked.  What I eventually came up with is something she would have loved.  To me, it tastes like home.

Lemon Chess Pie

serves 8

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)

1/4 cup milk

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together the sugar, flour, cornmeal and salt. Add the melted butter, zest, lemon juice and milk; mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour filling into the unbaked pie shell and bake until the top is a crisp, golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.


11 comments

phhhst says:

Remember how I commented that I don’t make pie? You are converting me with these posts and photos. Besides chocolate, my next favorite dessert is anything lemon, so I might have to try and make this. I love that it is mother recommended.

phhhsts last blog post..Surf and Sand: The Intro

Be says:

This pie is to die for!

thistle says:

‘jes pie’…is a great answer to the origin of the name question, and like psuedo i also love anything lemon, so yet another one for me to try to persuade someone else to make for me :)

thistles last blog post..By Writing This Down I May Be Jinxing Myself…

goodfather says:

Mmmm, this one makes my mouth water. Awesome.

goodfathers last blog post..Roll call

This pie and Buttermilk pie are my favorite!! mmmm..mmm….good. You are killing me here, dear. Another 5 lbs just from staring at this piece of beautiful yummy goodness.

Midlife Slicess last blog post..Politically Incorrect, Again?

Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Nothing Fancys last blog post..Keeping Up With The Times

I think this one is my favorite and I’ve never even had it before. I have loved all your recipes and can’t wait to try them. Looking forward to the pie crust recipe although I’m not sure why as I will probably never take the time to make it. But you never know…..
Thanks again for sharing.

Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..THE MAKING OF A BIKER CHICK – The Badlands

SSG says:

mmmm mmmmm mmmmmm! You can almost smell the lemon in that picture! I gotta start cooking desserts…. just.need.more.time.dammit.

SSGs last blog post..Wednesday Wallpaper

vodkamom says:

my husband would love this. the bastard. Can I put some arsenic in it?

vodkamoms last blog post..Confessions of a Book Whore

So, when does your cookbook come out? Cuz I would so buy it! Lemon! Yum.

Margaret (Nanny Goats)s last blog post..Of Lollipops and Near-Death Experiences

[...] – and boy, was it good.   Well, of course it was, since it is merely a reworking of my Lemon Chess Pie recipe.  The original recipe is baked in a crust and is made with refined sugar, milk and butter; [...]

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