A Southern classic: Chess Pie
Chess pie is a classic dessert in the culinary repertoire of Southern U.S. The flaky crust encloses a sweet, sweet, sweet, and creamy filling topped by an ever-so-thin, crispy layer of meringue.
From the original recipes by: Mattie Lee Wehrley
In: “Handy Household Hints and Recipes”, 1916, USA
and Juniata L. Shepperd
In: “Handbook of Household Science”, 1902—USA
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk or cream
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (scant) butter
1/4 tsp salt
ice water as needed
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Make the Crust: In a food processor put flour salt and butter (diced), and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running add enough water for the dough to come together. Do not overprocess. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let rest in a cool place for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness and line a deep pie dish, make a decorative rim.
Filling: melt the butter and let cool. Warm the milk and set aside.Beat the eggs at high speed with the sugar until very light (at least 15 minutes), then add the flour, the melted and cooled butter, and the lukewarm milk. If the milk is cold the mixture will curdle. If this happens, blend with an immersion blender until smooth and glossy.
Pour the filling in the prepared pan and bake at 350F (180C), until the top of the filling is golden brown. Let the pie cool in the pan placed on a rack. Serve cold; refrigerate any leftovers.
A note on the pie pan to use: I recommend using a metal deep-dish pie pan. In my experience, pies baked in glass and ceramic pie dishes often have a soggy, undercooked pastry layer, which spoils the final result. Natural finish aluminum pie pans are best because they bake evenly.