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Chess Pie-A Holiday Recipe

We used to have a Chess Pie at our family holiday gathering pot lucks. My Uncle’s partner baked a couple of them each Thanksgiving. Never enough, I might add. There were even some family members that went so far as to hide pies from greedy fingers and for future solo devouring! When my Uncle’s relationship faded, my love of Jane’s pies did not. Neither did my Uncles. In fact, as he was spending his final days on earth, all he ate was pie. Pie--all day. Every. Day. 


It's just the zhuzhed up name for what someone may have once said was “Jus’ pie, honey!”


Chess pie is such a special treat, as simple as it is. In fact, the name is said to be derived from the comment, “It’s jus’ pie”.  

A superb replacement for my beloved holiday Chess Pie was discovered at a favorite local spot when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina. Sadly, this icon of an institution closed down a couple of years ago. Before they wrapped up their love story with the Holy City, I snatched up one of their cookbooks. 

Their version is what I call this the ‘Fancy Chess Pie’, and I’m here to share Hominy Grill’s recipe with you. 

I know it will become a new favorite of yours!

image of a slice of chess pie



6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temp

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Eggs, separated

3 Tablespoons AP flour 

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ Teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Buttermilk, room temp

1 Baked 9-in deep dish pie shell


Let’s Begin:

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine your butter and sugar until completely incorporated. Add egg yolks and mix well to combine. Add flour, lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt. While mixing, slowly add in your buttermilk. Mix well and set aside.

In a second bowl, whip egg whites until peaks are formed. Pour a small amount of the buttermilk mixture from the first bowl into the whites. Fold gently to combine. Gently fold egg white mix into your first bowl (buttermilk mix) and mix until just combined. Pour what is now your custard into your baked pie shell.

Bake in the middle oven until filling is just lightly browned and barely moves when your pie is jiggled. About 45-50 minutes. Cool on wire rack and serve at room temp.


Serves 8 happy people, or 4 gluttonous ones!