Martha Mondays: Chess Pie

I am not a Southerner, but I admit a lot of Southern food really hits the spot for me. I remember seeing some celebrity make chess pie on a daytime talk show a hundred years ago and I could not believe it could be any good. There was almost nothing in it but egg, sugar, and butter. I’ve not really seen chess pie recipes around, until I came upon the Chess Tart in April Living. I had to make it and chose it for this week’s Martha Mondays.

This is spectacularly easy to make. The crust is 45 vanilla wafers, crushed, with 5 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. You bake it then fill it with 3 eggs, 1 yolk, a stick of butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cornmeal, and 1/2 c brown sugar. Bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes and then refrigerate it.

This is a giant mouthful of sugar for sure, but it is really an interesting dessert. The filling kind of soaks into the crust and it is almost like butterscotch. Mr. MarthaAndMe LOVED this. It was really too sweet for me, so I ate the crust and that was about it. The kids liked it too, so it was a real hit here. How did yours turn out?

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12 Responses to Martha Mondays: Chess Pie

  1. It looks good Brette, I wish now that I had tried it. I was confused by ‘vanilla wafers’ – is this wafers used in icecreams or a biscuit? We don’t have anything just called ‘vanilla wafers’.

  2. marthaandme says:

    They’re a kind of cookie (biscuit to you) – small, round, plain, dry. Not many people actually eat them plain – they’re often used in things like this. I don’t recall seeing them on the shelves when I was in London so maybe you don’t have them.

  3. Alisa Bowman says:

    OMG butter + sugar + eggs + more butter + sugar = divine.

  4. I’m in the south, but haven’t seen this. Maybe it’s a dish that is further south than we live. At any rate, I had never heard of peanut butter pie before moving here, every restaurant offers it as dessert!

  5. marthaandme says:

    I love peanut butter pie, if there is enough chocolate involved in it!

  6. Kerry says:

    @perfectingpru plain digestives — the sort Sainsbury’s sells as a company brand, for instance — are a bit like vanilla wafers but much less sweet. I think they might work though, as the whole thing is quite sweet enough on its own.

    last had this during time spent in Kentucky many years ago, knew someone there made it really well.
    she cut down the sugar a bit from this recipe though. it does taste like butterscotch and is great warm from the oven.

  7. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I haven’t thought about Chess Pie in years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  8. Erlina says:

    I made my chess tart tonight…and it was absolutely divine.It was easy to make as well, plus I love that it only uses things that you have sitting around the kitchen anyways.

  9. marthaandme says:

    Yes, that is a definite benefit to this – you can whip it up without having to make a grocery store run. There are very few Martha recipes that is true for!

  10. Isabela says:

    Hi, very interesting blog you heve here, I came from the link you posted as a comment in the Martha Stewart´s web page of this recipe… one question though… in your picture (and Martha´s also) the pie seems to have a crust on top as well, but there is no mention of it in the instructions… Is there a top crust?

  11. marthaandme says:

    Hi Isabela. Thanks for stopping by. No, it just looks like – it kind of forms a thin layer on the top when baking.

  12. Isabela says:

    Ah ok, tks for clearing it out!

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