Chess Pie

chess pie
The history of this pie is a bit mysterious and silly. Some say that the pie itself is so simple that when asked what kind of pie is baking, the bakers response was, “It’s just pie.” This, when sped up and slurred by lazy-tongued bakers, starts to sound like “jess pie” or “chess pie.” Whatever.

Another tale points out that the pie’s curdy texture is similar to cheese, and lazy-spelling bakers left out some “e’s”, forever labeling the pie as “chess.”

Neither explanation shines a very favorable light on the bakers in question.

I told you it was silly.

Silly but delicious. This pie is a perfect for beginners, because it is very hard to screw up, and easy to embellish. Add fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, or spices to add your personal touch. Or, just keep it as is … au naturelle.

So … once you have mastered pie dough, try this pie on for size.


1/2 recipe Pie Dough, or Pâte Sucreé
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 TB. cornmeal
1/2 cup cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 TB. vanilla extract
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, melted


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325˚F. Line pie pan with a circle of pie or sucreé dough, crimp edges and blind bake for 20-30 minutes, until edges just begin to set. Cool completely, and remove pie weights.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, cornmeal, cream, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Mix well, then stir in butter. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and bake at 325˚F for 30-45 minutes, until lightly golden and just set. Chill completely before serving.
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