Saturday, November 24, 2012

Deb Makes 'Chess Pie'

Chess pies are a Southern specialty that has a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, and a small amount of flour. Some recipes include cornmeal and others are made with vinegar. Flavorings, such as vanilla, lemon juice, or chocolate are also added to vary the basic recipe.

The origin of the name, Chess Pie, is uncertain, but there are plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore surrounding the name. The most probable explanation is that since the English lemon curd pie filling is very close to lemon chess pie, and they believe the word “chess” is an Americanization of the English word “cheese,” referring to curd pie. Basically the Chess Pie is a cheese-less cheesecake.

Some folklore:
One explanation suggests that the word is “chest,” pronounced with a drawl and used to describe these pies baked with so much sugar they could be stored in a pie chest rather than refrigerated. 
Another story is about the plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great - “Jes’ pie” was her answer. 
Here is the recipe:


* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon cornmeal
* 1/4 cup evaporated milk
* 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
* 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. (mix with electric or by hand) In a large bowl, the butter, sugar and vanilla together.
3. Mix in (by hand) the eggs, then stir in the cornmeal, evaporated milk and vinegar until smooth.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Keep aluminum foil over top of pie for first 20 minutes. Then remove foil for last 40 minutes. Take out of oven and let completely cool. Cut and top servings with whipped cream. You will think you have died and gone to heaven.

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