It was March 14, also known as Pi Day, or as I call it, the tastiest day of the year! My company had arranged for pies from a local bakery, Dangerously Delicious Pies, to be delivered and employees could come down to the lobby for a free slice of pie. I chose a chocolate chess pie and it was incredible. I sent a picture of the pie to the baking club and we thought chess pie would make a great theme for our next meeting.
A few of the club members had never even heard of chess pie, much less tasted it. For me, I had grown up with chess pie, as it is a staple recipe in any Southern woman's recipe box. Both my mom and grandmother had their go-to recipes for Chess pie.
The origin of the pie's name is unknown - some say that because the pie is so sweet, it didn't need to be refrigerated and could be kept in a pie chest on the counter. Others say it got it's name when someone walked into their neighbor's kitchen and asked "what's cooking in the oven?" and the neighbor replied "oh, it's 'jes pie!" (read that in a Southern accent!) However it got it's name, I call it delicious - though not everyone in the baking club became converts.
Read on to see all that we made!
LIBBY - Chess Pie
I chose to make a hand-written recipe from my grandmother. Not only did I like the nostalgia of making something that she used to make, but this recipe also called for an unusual ingredient: grated American cheese. I'm not sure why it's in there or what purpose it serves - but it's in the recipe, so I made it just the way she did!
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. yellow corn meal
- 1 Tbsp. grated American cheese
Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into unbaked 9" pie shell. Bake in 350 oven for 50-60 minutes.
KLARE - Classic Chess Pie (via MyRecipes)
Klare chose a classic chess pie recipe that includes two of the distinctive ingredients of chess pie: corn meal and vinegar. The corn meal (and flour) help to thicken and provide stability to the custard filling and the vinegar helps cut the sweetness of the pie. The powdered sugar finish on top really makes this a most tempting pie!
Like the chocolate version I had on Pi Day, chess pie can be adapted to incorporate various different flavors. Gina chose a lemon variety that was very tasty. Like the vinegar in the classic chess pie, lemon juice helps to cut down on the sweetness and provides a sharp, refreshing flavor.
TONYA - Brown Butter Chess Pie (via Joy the Baker)
All of us in baking club are huge fans of browned butter, but none more so than Tonya. So it was no surprise that she chose this recipe. Sometimes you don't need to add a new ingredient to change the flavor of a dish. Sometimes all you need to do is change the flavor of the ingredients you already have! The brown bits of butter are perfectly dispersed throughout the mixture so that every bite has that toasty, buttery flavor.