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Chess Pie. Best Ever. Serious.

I love being in charge of a pie.
And I take that duty very seriously.

I was given the responsibility to supply the Thanksgiving pie this year.  Rather than going with the traditional pumpkin or pecan, I made my most favorite pie ever ... the dripping-in-Southern-charm chess pie.


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I remember the first time I ever had chess pie.  It was love at first sight munch.

The easiest way for me to explain the taste of this deliciousness is to compare it to a pecan pie with no pecans.  Have I got your attention now?

It's basically a pie with a filling of sugar and butter, held together by two eggs and seasoned with a dash of vanilla.


Here is the original recipe for the pie.  My mom's annotations are on it ... first tried July '04, when I'd just graduated college and was about to move to Charlotte.  We're big recipe annotaters in our family.  Most recipes are given an A-F rating (although you'd never really see a C, D, or F rated recipe in our binders -- they'd go straight into the recycling bin).  Plusses and minuses are not only allowed, but encouraged.  Some sort of annotations about substitutions or why it was made are generally added.  And from a sentimental standpoint, I can tell you that a quick annotation will bring smiles to faces for years to come.

On my 22 1/2 birthday, this pie earned an A+, and I can assure you that a score like that isn't doled out every day.  You can also see that I begged my mom not to make it again because it was just TOO good.

So now the only question that remains is -- why in the world is it named chess pie? 

I've heard a few explanations, and here they are.

Reason 1:
Back when pie chests were often used, this was a type of pie that could be stored in one (rather than the fridge) due to the high sugar content of the pie.  "Chest pie" became "chess pie" when hit with a Southern accent.

Reason 2:
A Southern plantation cook was asked what she was baking that smelled so wonderful.  She replied "Just pie" which sounded more like "Jes pie" which was heard as "chess pie."

A little research also points to another possibility, where "chess" derives from the word "cheese" due to its curd-like texture.

Any way you slice it {yep, intended}, it's an amazing pie that you probably have 80% of the ingredients for already on hand!  Happy baking, ya'll.

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11 comments:

  1. It looks delicious! I think I will have to make this soon. Maybe even make it my contribution to Easter this year!

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  2. I have honestly never heard of Chess pie, but it sounds amazing! I love that yall grade your recipes and write comments about them. So special and neat to look back on!

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  3. Every couple of years Southern Living does a piece on Chess pie but I have never tried it. Now I will have to try your recipe soon:)

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  4. Chess Pie is one of my favorite desserts in the world!! I have just never tried to make one myself. YUMM!
    PS...thanks for the tip on uploading photos on blogger. It worked when I switched to HTML =)

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  5. Drooling. One of our customers at Ann Taylor brings these in during the Holiday season and they are incredible. Now that I have a recipe...this could be trouble, or as you put it "too good!" Happy Monday. oxo

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  6. this is one pie i haven't made! AND I WANT TO! :-) YUM! ;-) I'm pinning this!

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  7. I love chess pie, and I agree, not the healthiest thing in the world! I will definitely check out this version and compare it with my family recipe.

    XO

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  8. I love baking - so learning about a new, delicious pie is so exciting! I can't wait to make this. Congratulations on your A+!

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  9. This sounds & looks heavenly...I may just even add chocolate chips to it! Thanks for sharing! And, I was totally cracking up about the reasons for how it got its' name...especially the "Jes pie" one!

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  10. Yum this sounds delicious!!

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  11. Oh I had a great version recently at PieBird in Raleigh! They poured warm honey on top and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt....a side of vanilla bean ice
    cream. The. Best. Thing. Ever.

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