Chess pie is a dessert characteristic of Southern U.S. cuisine. According to James Beard’s American Cookery (1972) chess pie was brought from England originally, and was found in New England as well as Virginia. Recipes vary, but are generally similar in that they call for the preparation of a single crust and a filling composed of eggs, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. What sets chess pie apart from many other custard pies is the addition of cornmeal. Some recipes also call for corn syrup, which tends to create a more gelatinous consistency. The pie is then baked. The finished product is often consumed with coffee.
Chess pie is closely related to vinegar pie, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Vinegar pie generally adds somewhere between a teaspoonful and tablespoonful of vinegar to the ingredients to reduce the sweetness. Some variations are called Jeff Davis or Jefferson Davis Pie.
Although preparation of a pecan pie is similar (with the obvious addition of pecans), pecan pie usually contains corn syrup.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons flour
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 x 23 cm pie pastry
- Beat eggs until light and frothy. Gradually beat in white sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter. Beat until fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour. Stir in light cream, mix well.
- Place pastry in pie pan, crimping edges. Pour filling into pie shell.
- Bake at 205°C for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 150°C. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until filling is set.