Monday, February 8, 2010

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Chess Pie

Often referred to as a pantry pie because it can be made from pantry basics, chess pie is an old fashioned, southern favorite. I like to cut the sweetness of my chess pie with just a bit of buttermilk instead of sweet milk and fresh lemon juice and zest, instead of vinegar.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Chess Pie

Old Fashioned Chess Pie is southern to the core. And sweet. A very sweet custard pie made with eggs, butter, a little flour, a bit of cornmeal, vanilla and sugar. Lots of sugar.  While not many folks include buttermilk in their chess pie recipe as I do, I happen to think that it only improves on the flavor of the chess pie. The tartness of the buttermilk helps to cut the sugary sweetness and makes for a simply perfect chess pie.

I have to admit - while I do love sweet things, plain chess pie and brown sugar pies have never been my favorite pies. A brown sugar pie is so sweet, that it literally locks my jaw up, I swear. As far as chess pie, while I do like it better, I also find that it absolutely needs something to counteract the sweetness. So for me, chess pie needs either the bitterness of cocoa or unsweetened chocolate or else the tartness of lemon just to balance out the sweetness.  To do that, I put just a squeeze of lemon juice along with the zest of a small lemon in my regular chess pie.  It is not enough lemon to turn it into a Lemon Chess Pie, but just enough to counter the sugar.  In my opinion don't leave the lemon out, unless you have one heck of a high tolerance for sugar.

This pie really calls to be served with some very strong coffee, perhaps a Cafe au Lait made with a good Louisiana chicory coffee, to help balance the sweetness. I like mine with just a dollop of homemade whipped cream and a light grating of nutmeg over the top.

Here's how to make it.


Recipe: Old Fashioned Buttermilk Chess Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of cornmeal
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest from one small lemon, chopped fine
  • Juice of 1/2 of same small lemon
  • 1 unbaked pie shell, homemade or commercial (Pillsbury recommended)
  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions

Prebake the pie shell if desired, according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt. To that add the butter, buttermilk, and vanilla; mix. Beat the eggs, add and mix. Zest lemon, then juice half of it, reserving other half for another use; add to filling. Place pie crust into a 9 inch pie plate and pour mixture into the pie shell.

Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown and set. Total time can range from 45 minutes, to 1 hour or longer, based on your oven. Use a pie shield (or aluminum foil) on the edges after about 20 minutes to prevent crust from overbrowning. Can also tent entire pie with aluminum foil if the top of the pie itself is overbrowning.

Let cool completely on a rack. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a grating of fresh nutmeg on top.

Cook's Notes: For a classic chess pie, increase sugar to 2 cups, increase cornmeal to 2 tablespoons, omit the buttermilk and replace it with 1/4 cup of milk, omit the lemon juice & zest, and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. All other ingredients are the same. For a chocolate version click here.

For a traditional buttermilk pie, eliminate the cornmeal, reduce eggs to 3 and separate them - you'll beat the egg whites separate and fold those into the filling before putting it into the pie shell. Increase the buttermilk to 1-1/2 cups - everything else stays the same, except you fold in those beaten eggs whites at the end, then turn the filling into pie shell. Bake in the middle of the oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour (instead of the 350 degrees).

Source: http://www.deepsouthdish.com

Requires Adobe Reader - download it free!
©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.
Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Classic Southern Pecan Pie
Coconut Key Lime Pie with Minty Whipped Cream
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
Chocolate Chess Pie
Posted by on February 8, 2010

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, please do not copy and paste to repost or republish elsewhere such as other Facebook pages, blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.
.

Bookmark and Share

53 comments:

  1. I love chess pie, buttermilk pie, egg custard pie, I love PIE!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love chess pies. I've never met one that was too sweet for me!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love chess pie. Why, you'd think I was from the South the way I love all these yummy recipes. Bring 'em on! YUMMY!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love chess pie Mary and your looks delicious. Save me a piece. Ü

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh man, that does look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  6. i have never heard of this it looks and sounds terrific

    ReplyDelete
  7. My mom and her mom always made the best chocolate chess pies. Unfortunately I was never a big sweets eater.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've never even heard of chess pie and I have to say I'm a little upset now that I know what one is. How can I not make that and eat half of it in one sitting and then cry the next day that I'm still in my maternity pants?

    I just met, fell in love, and broke up with chess pie. I'll let you know how I like it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Jeanette you are my kinda gal!
    @Pam you're so sweet I'm not surprised!
    @Beverooni you are knighted a southerner in my book!
    @Tina, got you one right here!!
    @Julie, aw, thanks!
    @Chef, thank you so much! Thanks quite an honor.
    @Dave, I'm surprised at that!
    @Chris, I love the chocolate the most too - it's the right mix IMHO
    @Eclipsed - you are adorable. If y'all get back together let me know what you think! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've never had this before. It looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just recently made my first Chess pie (after having a great one in the hospital! LOL) and I ran into a problem with the egg settling down at the bottom of the pie - very off-putting. Do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this?

    Thanks!!
    KC

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi KC - I am assuming you were using another recipe and not this one? Hard to say really. Couple things come to mind - fresher eggs for sure, and let the eggs come to room temperature so they aren't too cold. Beat the eggs first before they are added into the other ingredients - it should be very smooth when it goes into the pie shell, and don't overcook - that can cause some separation to occur. Sorry I can't help more. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was given another recipe but I will be using yours next time! That makes sense, I will definitely try those tricks the next time. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You are very welcome! Thanks so much for being a reader.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This was a fantastic recipe for chess pie! This was my first time trying. Came out perfect! My coworkers loved it. Next time I will put in a deep dish crust. Only change. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave a comment! Glad y'all enjoyed the pie.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I made this today and it is wonderful. After I started, I realized that I was out of lemons, so I substituted a half an orange instead, and it turned out delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Mary Alice - good to know about the orange! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to come back and say so!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my goodness, I was craving something like this and found your recipe. It was so easy to make and is amazing! So light and fluffy, it's like tasting a fluffy lemon cloud! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my goodness I was craving something like this and came across your recipe. It was amazingly simple to put together and I had all the ingredients on hand. What a snap! It's like tasting a light fluffy lemon cloud!!! Thanks for posting it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I add 1/2c cocoa and 1 extra egg when I want chocolate chess pie.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love me some buttermilk and chess pie, but have to say never thought to combine them. Genius! This is go on my to make list right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let me know what you think Vikki!

      Delete
  23. Chess pie and persimmon pudding are two of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Mary, I'm using a frozen pie crust. Does this have enough filling for a deep dish crust?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make this in a standard pie plate, so it'll be a bit short for a deep dish.

      Delete
  25. I made 2 chess pies today, but not with this recipe. I don't think lemon would be good, but Im not sure about the buttermilk.
    Here is another recipe that you may enjoy.
    Chess pie:
    4 ounces of butter
    1/2 cup of brown sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    2 tablespoons vanilla
    1 tablespoon cornmeal
    This is a great recipe and its really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh the lemon is amazing - all it does is stand in for the vinegar to cut the sweet a bit, but it has more flavor! The buttermilk adds some additional flavor and tartness too. It's really a cross between a buttermilk and chess pie. Delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us too though - sounds excellent!

      Delete
  26. Hi! I want to make this TODAY but don't have lemons on hand but have some "lemon juice" about how much would I substitute for the half lemon and zest? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry I didn't catch this question earlier - I was busy with grandbabies! From one medium lemon you should get about 1 teaspoon zest and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, so for this recipe the full zest but only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

      Delete
  27. Hi! This sounds delicious! I want to try this today but I would like to ask a question first please. What is the difference in taste and texture of the filling when using the cornmeal compare to the taste and texture of the filling when you leave it out? Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not that much, but the cornmeal adds a little body & the buttermilk pie without it is just a bit more loose, like a custard.

      Delete
  28. The pie is very good i been making this pie for over 3 years and it is spot on good. But i do have to bake my pie for about an hour and a half i don't know why but it comes out great and creamy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, that is a lot longer! I guess I'll need to make one and see if I need to make any adjustments in the time now!! :)

      Delete
    2. please let me know what you find thanks

      Delete
  29. What if I don't have lemon or orange, what can I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fresh flavor citrus provides, but a T of white vinegar can stand in for the lemon. A suggestion for the future is to juice a couple lemons into an ice cube tray, freeze them pop into freezer bags, then you'll have lemon juice anytime you need it!

      Delete
  30. my chess pie came out with a hard crust over the whole filling. what am I doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does form a crusty layer on top - it's supposed to! If it was hard however, it may have been overcooked a bit. Remember times are only estimates when baking since everybody's oven cooks differently. Some run hot and cook faster, others run more cool or have hot spots. If you scroll up a bit on the post before the recipe, you'll see a picture of the finished pie and what it looks like. The crust should be that golden brown color and the filling set when it is done baking.

      Delete
    2. My pie came out still liquidy in the middle after following times. Do you have any suggestions?

      Delete
    3. It needs to cook a little longer if it's still lose in the middle. Cooking times are always suggested - remember, all of our ovens vary in how they cook and maintain temperature. You just need to continue cooking!

      Delete
  31. Hi Mary, had your pie last night!! Everyone loved it! Don

    ReplyDelete
  32. It's pi (pie) day and I need to make a pie QUICK. I have all the ingredients for your Chess Pie. One question... You say to "pre-bake pie shell if desired." Why should or shouldn't I do that? Is the rest of your recipe for a shell that is pre-baked? or not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eric and happy pi day! I don't usually prebake but some folks get off put with a soft crust and with cream and custard pies they prefer to prebake. It helps a bit with keeping the crust from being too soft. It's not necessary, just a preference and for the pictures this pie shell was not prebaked.

      Delete
  33. I've been looking for a recipe equivalent to that of the one my mother used to use. This one sounds very much like how she made hers and I'm looking forward to making it this weekend. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  34. Can't wait to try this pie for Thanksgiving. My west coast friends swooned over a basic buttermilk pie last year. Cornmeal and lemon addition will make this pie a pleasant surprise. Thanks for the recipe! Looks like a great pie with coffee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure to use less lemon than the recipe calls for. It's far too much. You only need about a tablespoon of lemon and no zest.

      Delete
    2. Oh gracious Mirya! Well I guess I should be grateful that at least this comment was nicer than the other one you left.

      Listen, I'm no chef, but I think I am a pretty decent cook, and I sure don't publish recipes here on my blog that are, what did you say on the other comment? "Awful??"

      The pie pictured here is made from this exact recipe, so I disagree and stand by my recipe.

      In fact, scroll up a bit and you'll see some very positive comments about this recipe, like "Hi Mary, had your pie last night!! Everyone loved it!" and further above that "The pie is very good i been making this pie for over 3 years and it is spot on good." and above that "Oh my goodness I was craving something like this and came across your recipe. It was amazingly simple to put together and I had all the ingredients on hand. What a snap! It's like tasting a light fluffy lemon cloud!!! Thanks for posting it."

      I can offer some suggestions. Did you use an extra large lemon when you made your pie. You should only have had about a tablespoon of juice, perhaps even less. Or perhaps you misread the directions and used all of the juice in the full lemon instead of only half? Perhaps you don't really like lemon that much, so in that case, you certainly wouldn't want to use the zest and vinegar is an option in the recipe as well - which chess pies are usually made with - you certainly wouldn't want to use the zest if you aren't a fan of lemon. I happen to like the lemon flavor and I prefer to use the zest myself. If you zest a lemon correctly, using a microplane and a light stroke so that you don't dig into the white pith (that would taste awful), the zest is not that heavy and adds a lot to the pie.

      Thanks for your input Mirya, though I and several others disagree with you. I would like to suggest that before hitting the publish key on any future comments, that you remember that I'm a real - and frankly hard-working - human being on the other side of these recipes and your comments.

      Delete
  35. Thanks Mary... I'll keep the lemon juice to 1 Tbs but will definitely add some zest. And I have to make it gluten free so any suggestions for the 2 Tbs of wheat flour? I usually use King Arthur GF flour with good results but this flour has a slight buck wheat taste. Would rice flour be a better choice? The Whole Foods all-butter gluten free frozen pie crusts are excellent though very pricey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know I really don't know much about substituting GF flours to make a recommendation. It's primarily used for texture and thickening here, so try to match that up best you can. Increasing the cornmeal and omitting the flour might just work!

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from readers and I read every single comment and try to respond to them right here on the site, so stop back by!

From time to time, anonymous restrictions and/or comment moderation may be activated due to comment spam. I also reserve the right to edit, delete or otherwise exercise total editorial discretion over any comments left on this blog. If your comment serves only to be snarky, mean-spirited or argumentative, it will be deleted. Please mind your manners.

 
Related Posts with Thumbnails