January 29, 2019

Lemon Chess Pie – Pies on Parade 2019

This past Saturday Elms of Camden participated in the 15th Annual Pies on Parade event to benefit the Area Interfaith Outreach organization. It was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work, and a lot of money was raised for a good cause. Being the fool I am, I volunteered to make and distribute samples of pie for the Saturday event in Camden at our B&B. You know I love to cook, bake, and eat so this type of event had my name written all over it! Pie oh my! During the event, several people asked for the recipe so I promised my next blog would be my Lemon Chess Pie recipe. So, keeping my promise, here it is.

I decided to make one of my favorites from my days in Texas, a Lemon Chess Pie. I do not discriminate when it comes to pie. I like chocolate, coconut, apple, blueberry, mixed berry, peanut butter, well you get the idea. But, I do love lemon. I guess it’s the combination of sweet and tart mixed together. To me, it’s just perfect. What I didn’t expect was how many people said “chess, you meant chest or cheese.” No, chess. I guess some Yankees need to be schooled in Southern cooking. Then I realized I didn’t know why it was called Lemon Chess; it just was. So for your education and mine, I found this online:

“No one has ever been able to determine how chess pie came about its name, but the colorful explanations make for great table conversation.

Some say gentlemen were served this sweet pie as they retreated to a room to play chess. Others say the name was derived from Southerners’ dialect: It’s jes’ pie (it’s just pie). Yet another story suggests that the dessert is so high in sugar that it kept well in pie chests at room temperature and was therefore called “chest pie.” Southern drawl slurred the name into chess pie. Or, perhaps, a lemony version of the pie was so close to the traditional English lemon curd pie, often called “cheese” pie, that chess pie became its American name.”

Regardless, it’s a perfect lemon pie that is easy to make and is great by itself or if you must, add some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top or on the side. It’s also a very forgiving pie with the ingredients. If you add a bit more flour or cornmeal it’s okay. Some recipes use buttermilk,  vinegar, lemon zest, or cocoa powder instead of lemon (Chocolate Chess). You can make your pie crust or use one store-bought, both work well for this pie. Whichever you use, I put the filling in a frozen pie shell. I made my filling in a stand mixer using a glass bowl and the whisk attachment. Feel free to use a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.

Elms of Camden Lemon Chess Pie

1 Frozen Pie Crust (Deep Dish 9″)
4 Eggs
1.5 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice (I only use lemons or Minute Maid 100% Premium Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
Zest from One Lemon
1 Tbsp Flour (All Purpose)
1 Tbsp Yellow Cornmeal
1/8 Tsp Salt

In a large bowl beat, or whisk, the eggs for three minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat for two more minutes. The mixture should get thick and lemon-colored. Add in the lemon juice, zest, butter, cornmeal, flour and salt, and mix until combined (about one minute). Pour mixture into frozen pie shell and bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes. I baked mine for 37 minutes. When done the middle will be jiggly, that’s okay. Cool the pie for one hour and then refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as I do. If you have any questions shoot me an email and if you make it, send pictures and let me know how it was. Of course, if you decide to come to visit, let me know and I just might make one and have a piece waiting in your room! To everyone who came by this past Saturday, thank you. We raised a lot of money for a great cause. And had pie!


P.S. This was my breakfast this morning!