Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lemon Chess Pie

My dad came across a recipe for Lemon Chess Pie. I had never heard of it, but loving lemon like I do, I really wanted to try it. With simple ingredients and using only 1 bowl to make, it seemed too good to be true. What's really unique and interesting is the addition of the cornmeal. You can't taste it in the pie, but it gives a great texture and when it floats to the top as it bakes, it creates a slight crust which is delicious!
This pie comes together quickly and is really amazing. It is lemony and sweet, but still slightly tart. It reminds me of a mix between a lemon merangue pie (but MUCH easier and faster to make) and lemon squares. This pie is slightly loose and will sink just a bit as it cools, so don't be alarmed!

A fun fact about this pie is why it's called "Chess Pie." Many people think that because it's an old Southern favorite, "Chess Pie" is the result of a Southern accent. When the man of the house would come home and ask what's for dessert, the woman of the house would say "Jus' pie" ("just pie") which then became "Chess Pie." In reality, pies used to be stored in pie chests and so "Chest Pie" eventually because "Chess Pie." (But I think "Jus' Pie" is so cute!)

Lemon Chess Pie
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fine yellow cornmeal
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice with pulp
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour and cornmeal. Blend well, then add the eggs and combine well. Add the milk and mix then stir in the melted butter, lemon zest, and juice. Pour this filling into the crust and cover then edge of the crust with foil to prevent it from burning, taking care not to touch the filling. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes, removing the foil after 30 minutes, or until the top is medium brown and the center is set. Cool and serve or refrigerate overnight. Top with powdered sugar or whipped cream and enjoy!

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