Chess Pie Closeup , as seen on Kardea Brown Southern Comfort Classics FNK Course.
Recipe courtesy of Kardea Brown

Classic Chess Pie

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
Classic chess pie filling consists of butter, eggs, flour and sugar. There are many variations, however, and I am partial to my spins! In this recipe, cornmeal and buttermilk add a boost in texture and tang that brings me home to my Southern roots. The oven temperature is lowered to cook the egg-based custard low-and-slow, making for a smooth and more tender filling.





  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the crust: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Remove the butter from the freezer and work it into the dough by hand, working quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible. (Cold butter flakes are the secret to a flaky crust.) Be sure to leave pea-size butter flecks visible. Slowly pour the ice water into flour mixture. Using your hands, mix until a dough starts to form. Be careful not to overmix. It should appear shaggy but cohesive.  
  3. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 1/4-inch-thick circle, 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough round to a 9-inch pie dish. Press the dough down into the dish. Tuck any overhanging dough back under the rim, using your hands to create a thick outer edge. Use a fork to crimp the edges or your hands to pinch for a more professional look. Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the freezer. Using a toothpick or a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the crust. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill the raw pie shell with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake for 15 to 20 minutes until it begins to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment and pie weights.  
  5. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash. Return to the oven and bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. 
  6. For the filling: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Once combined, stir in the buttermilk, cornmeal, vanilla and salt. Pour the custard into the cooled pie crust. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, checking the pie after 30 minutes and tenting the crust with foil if it is browning too quickly. When the pie is ready, a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean and it should reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. 
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 3 to 4 hours. If cut while too warm, the filling will not be set. Once cooled, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, cut into slices and serve.

Cook’s Note

For a variation, prepare the custard same as above but add your favorite citrus zest or 4 ounces melted chocolate after the buttermilk.