Years ago (to many to admit) I met an old Polish woman who was a boyfriends grandmother. She told me about her grandmother who was from England and would make a pie called “Chess Pie”. She told me it was named chess pie because it was a pie that was kept in a pie chest in a kitchen which was a cool dark area used to store food before refrigerators. They looked something like this:
Not only did they store pies but breads, meats and other food items. I do not know if the history she gave me is correct as I’ve been told over the years this is a Southern pie. I can tell you for certain….this is a fabulous pie!!
It was in Sonia’s little kitchen the first time I had a Lemon Chess Pie. Lemon Chess pie is a very sweet pie. The lemon filling is so full of flavor and almost a light pudding consistency. This quickly became one of my favorite pies. I, like Sonia, loved lemon meringue pie without the meringue. I do not like meringue at all on anything. The lemon chess pie was a great alternative to scraping the meringue off.
The ingredients are very simple as shown below. You can even use a store bought frozen pie crust as I did as I used all my homemade crusts from the freezer and didn’t have time to make one and freeze it.
(BAKING TIP: ALWAYS CRACK YOUR EGGS INTO A BOWL BEFORE ADDING THEM TO YOUR BATTER IN CASE ANY SHELLS SLIP IN)
The longest process of making this pie is grating the 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest you use. You will use the juice of 2 large lemons which give you enough zest also.
The batter is running and very pretty in color
This makes one 9 inch deep dish pie. You need to cover the crust as you cook this for 45 minutes so the cornmeal rises to the top and browns along the edges giving this a rich flavor. If you do not have one of these crust covers you are MISSING OUT!! This is one handy gadget for baking pies!!
The pie will be very dark and seem a little runny in the center when you pull it out but it sets as it cools. You can see by the color the crust looks very well done but because it was covered it has a great flavor.
This is a family favorite at our house. Super easy to make and impressive in taste. Give this a try at your next dinner party and see how quickly it becomes a favorite in your family!!
Lemon Chess Pie
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Tablespoon fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
2 Tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice with any pulp that gets squeezed in
1 unbaked pie shell (9 inch deep dish works best)
Heavy cream optional for whipped cream on top
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl mix the sugar, flour, and cornmeal thoroughly
Add the eggs and mix
Add the milk and mix again
Stir in the melted butter, lemon rind and lemon juice mixing well
Pour the filling into the pie crust and cover the edge of the crust carefully so as not to touch the filling
Bake for 45 minutes removing the crust cover to brown edges after 35 minutes
Cool and serve or refrigerate. If refrigerating, let sit for a bit to room temperature before serving. Optional to top with a dollop of whipped cream