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.

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Posted by on February 8, 2010

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