Monday, October 22, 2012

Lemon Chess Pie

it all starts with a bowl of lemons- actully it only takes a couple of them!

puffed and just out of the oven

cooled and ready to eat-

a candied lemon slice with fresh thyme for garnish

flaky thick pie crust - read below for the the easy secret!

warm custardy lemon pie- deelish!
Lemon Chess Pie - no one knows where it got it's name- but it's a staple for most  Southern cooks.  One story says that when the pie was pulled from the oven, someone asked - "what kind of pie is that?' And the cook replied " it's jes pie" and that's how it got its name!   This recipe is my aunts - but all of my aunts made chess pies - plain, chocolate, orange, coconut, you name it - it was made.  My momma made mini ones with chopped nuts on top ( she was ahead of her time on the "one bite" - dessert trend! But it didn't  really make any difference- we just ate 3 instead of one!)  It is an easily adaptable recipe and is in our cookbook - Romancing the Home Entertains" in several versions.  I love to make an orange chess pie or chocolate mint, but this weekend I had a bowl of lemons that need to be used. Besides, lemon is Mr. RTH's - our maintenance man's - favorite flavor.  It is a simple recipe, using ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.   For this pie, I added a little fresh lemon thyme to add a different flavor profile and it was great. And I cheated on the crust - I learned this trick from a Paula Deen show years ago and have done it ever since -  buy two ready made pie crusts. Bring them to room temperature.  Lay one over the other with a few drops of water in the middle and roll both of  them together with a rolling pin. Place in the baking dish.  The double layer pie crust  really mimics a home-made crust and is much more flaky.  Try it and see  what you think!

Lemon Chess Pie
prepared pie crust
2 c. sugar
1 T. flour
1 T. cornmeal
4 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. milk
3 T. grated lemon rind
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
Combine sugar, flour and cornmeal in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until slightly  set in the middle. It will firm as it cools.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Great served with whipped cream!

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