Friday, January 13, 2012

Buttermilk Chess Pie

Chess Pie is a super-sweet Southern pie. The recipes for this classic pie vary, but always include the 4 basic pantry staples: flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Modern recipes often add vinegar, and the addition of cornmeal separates chess pie from the standard custard pie. Chess pie is quintessentially Southern, a recipe born out of necessity and a bare pantry. 

One thing is for sure, though. Nobody REALLY knows where the name originated. Numerous theories and legends exist, but, all in all, it doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is that this pie is AMAZING. Sweet, but not cloyingly so, but you'd better have a tall glass of cold milk or a cup of hot, fresh-brewed coffee with a slice of this heavenly dessert.                                

Buttermilk Chess Pie
adapted from Deep South Dish and Southern Living

1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Prebake weighted pie shell according to package directions. In lieu of pie weights, I simply line the pie shell with foil, add a handful of dry beans, then bake. You can reuse the beans over and over again for pie baking; I keep mine in a pint Mason jar labeled "pie beans". 

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Stir in the butter, buttermilk, vinegar & vanilla. Mix well, then stir in the eggs. Pour mixture into prebaked pie crust. 

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and set. Shield the edges with foil and bake an addition 15-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. 

Cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before slicing and serving.


  1. Seen this recipe in all the church cookbooks here in the South and have been wondering what it was - thanks for the recipe - I will definitely give it a shot.

  2. It's definitely a classic! I'd say it's pretty similar to Paula Deen's infamous "Oooey Gooey Butter Cake", but not as sweet.