The theme for September’s What’s Baking was “Family Favorites.” You know, the one dish that’s a given to be at any and all family gatherings. Well, my family doesn’t really have a specific dish. What we do have, however, are pies.
My dad is the pie man. It’s a rare occasion where there isn’t one baking in his oven, and even more rare that he makes the same pie twice. So when trying to decide what to make in order to represent a family favorite, I knew a pie was in order. The question was, what kind?
I decided to go straight to the source. I told Dad about the theme and that I knew I wanted to bake a pie, but was having a difficult time figuring out which pie to make. Without flinching, he responded “Oh that’s easy. Lemon Chess Pie.” It’s the one pie I can remember digging into more than once, always going back for seconds.
As for the name, it’s not made of rooks and queens. Dad says the simple recipe is a Southern favorite and when the Belles would say “It’s Just Pie,” their drawl made it sounds like “Chess Pie” and so it was adopted.
It’s perfect with a cup of coffee to offset the sweetness of the pie. Pie for breakfast? Now that’s a family favorite.
Lemon Chess Pie – adapted from Bubby’s Homemade Pies by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin
- 1 9-inch Deep Dish Pastry Crust
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
- 5 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Buttermilk
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tbsp. Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Cornmeal
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
- Zest from 2 Lemons
- 1 Jar Lemon Curd, for topping
To blind bake the crust:
Preheat oven to 425. Refrigerate the pie crust for at least 20 minutes.
Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights (dried beans also work). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil and pie weights.
Decrease the oven temperature to 375 and bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool crust completely before filling.
For the pie:
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy, Add eggs, buttermilk and cream and beat well.
Combine the flour and cornmeal then add to the wet mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Add lemon juice and zest and mix briefly. Pour into pie shell.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is a pale golden brown. Cool on cooling rack for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled.
Cover pie with entire jar of lemon curd prior to serving.