Lemon Chess Pie for the Masses

I had to work this weekend. My back hurts. I burned my coffee this morning. Clearly I need to tell you all about the lemon chess pie with cherries that I made that was the highlight of my weekend. Chess pie is a southern dessert, it is quick, and you are likely to have the ingredients just hanging around the house.

First, the pie crust (from the Settlement Cookbook), and a quick note: If you think you can’t make pie crusts, I beg to differ. Just try it. Even a mediocre pie crust made from scratch is better than store-bought pie crusts.

Short Pastry

2 c flour

1 ts salt

1/2 c shortening and 1/4 c butter (I made it all butter as I think that Crisco is gross even though my mother made delicious pies from Crisco all her life, sorry, Mom)

ice water

Here’s the story w/pie crusts. You don’t want to overhandle them and you want all the ingredients as cold as possible.

Combine flour and salt. Blend butter with the flour. There are three ways of doing this. You can put them into a food processor to combine. You use a pastry cutter. Or you can use two knives to cut it all in. The last method takes the longest, but it can be done.

Add enough ice water, very slowly, to hold the dough together. Wrap in wax paper and chill for 1/2 hour or more (you can chill it overnight if you’re a think-ahead type). Roll 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick and line pie plate. (Note: If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will do).

If there are any pie crust scraps left over, sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon, or top with a little jam, and stick in the oven for um, ten minutes (maybe longer, I can’t remember, just keep an eye on them and don’t let them burn) and make little cookies to eat while waiting.

And for the Lemon Chess with Cherry part (from Foster’s Market Cookbook):

1 1/2 c sugar

1 Tb cornmeal

1 Tb flour

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 lemons

4 Tb butter, melted and cooled

1/2 c cream (I used half and half because I had it on hand)

1 ts vanilla extract (I used vanilla bourbon because that’s how I roll)

1/2 c pitted cherries

pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together sugar, cornmeal, and flour.

3. Add eggs and mix until smooth and well-blended.

4. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, cream, and vanilla, and mix until well-blended.

5. Place cherries at the bottom of the unbaked pie crust.

6. Pour the filling on top of the cherries. Bake 50 to 55 min or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool the pie completely on a baking rack before slicing. (Note: I didn’t read that part, and we ate it lukewarm and it was fan-fucking-tastic.)

Enjoy. What was the highlight of your weekend?


6 responses to “Lemon Chess Pie for the Masses

  1. This is the way to start a writing blog on a Monday, yummo!
    Now, I’ve never made a pie from scratch so…do you put the dough on top as well or is this one of those open-to-the-sky pies?
    Thank you and have a lovely pie-for-breakfast (fruit and dough equals toast with jam, but better…) day.

    • This is an open-to-the-sky pie, that’s part of why it’s so easy. Try it. It isn’t hard and it doesn’t take too long to do, especially if the kiddos are old enough to pit the cherries for you. And, yes, there will be pie for breakfast.

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