How To Make A Leah Chase Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie, a staple in Southern cuisine, is a delightful dessert that is easy enough to make at home.

This pie combines simplicity with an explosion of taste, embodying the essence of Southern comfort food.

It’s a dessert that brings together the tartness of fresh lemons with the sweetness of sugar, all held together in a buttery crust.

leah chase lemon chess pie

The beauty of this pie lies in its simplicity, allowing each ingredient to shine through.

Leah Chase’s version of this classic dessert adds a unique touch, making it a beloved recipe for many.

In this article, we’ll delve into how to create this delightful pie, what to serve alongside it, and tips for ensuring it comes out perfectly every time.

Leah Chase Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Leah Chase’s Lemon Chess Pie stands out for its delightful blend of tangy and sweet flavors, encapsulated in a perfectly baked crust.

The process begins with preparing the pie crust, which should be neatly lined in a 9-inch pie plate. The edges of the crust are crimped decoratively, adding an aesthetic touch to the final presentation.

The heart of the pie, its filling, is a carefully balanced mixture of granulated sugar, which provides the sweetness, and yellow cornmeal and all-purpose flour, which act as thickeners to give the filling its characteristic texture.

A pinch of salt is added to enhance the flavors and offset the sweetness.

Eggs, well beaten, are incorporated to create a smooth, custard-like base. Melted unsalted butter adds richness, while the grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice introduce a bright, citrusy tang that is quintessential to the pie.

Evaporated milk or half-and-half is then added to the mix, contributing to the creamy texture of the filling. This mixture is thoroughly combined until smooth and then poured into the prepared pie crust, ready for baking.

The pie is then placed on the bottom shelf of the oven to ensure even cooking.

As it bakes, the edges of the pie will start to puff up, and the center will set but still retain a slight jiggle, indicating it’s perfectly done.

This process takes about 35 to 45 minutes, but it’s important to keep an eye on the pie, as oven temperatures can vary.

Once baked, the pie is removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature on a rack.

This cooling period not only makes the pie easier to slice but also allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

What to Serve With Leah Chase’s Lemon Chess Pie

Leah Chase’s Lemon Chess Pie can stand alone as a magnificent dessert, but pairing it with the right accompaniments can elevate the entire dining experience.

A dollop of freshly whipped cream on top of each slice adds a creamy texture that contrasts beautifully with the pie’s tangy flavor.

For those who enjoy a bit of texture, a sprinkle of toasted, slivered almonds or pecans provides a delightful crunch.

If serving this pie at a gathering, consider a dessert wine such as a Riesling or a Sauternes to complement the pie’s lemony zest.

For a non-alcoholic option, a freshly brewed mint tea can offer a refreshing finish to the meal, harmonizing with the pie’s citrus notes.

Top Tips For Making The Perfect Lemon Chess Pie

Achieving the perfect Lemon Chess Pie involves a few key tips.

First, ensure that your ingredients, especially the eggs and evaporated milk, are at room temperature to achieve a smooth filling.

When mixing the filling, avoid over-beating; just enough to blend the ingredients well and ensure the sugar is dissolved.

Pay close attention to the pie as it bakes. The pie is done when the center is nearly set but still slightly wobbly; overbaking can lead to a dry texture.

Bonus Recipe: Southern Lemon Chess Pie

The Southern Lemon Chess Pie offers a variation on the classic with a few tweaks.

The recipe starts with a parbaked pie crust, ensuring a crisp base.

The filling, a blend of granulated sugar, melted salted butter, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, and juice, along with lightly beaten eggs, creates a custard that’s both tangy and sweet.

Baked at 325°F until set, this version of Lemon Chess Pie is garnished with powdered sugar and served with sweetened whipped cream, providing a delightful finish to any meal.

The key to this recipe is the balance of flavors and textures, from the flaky crust to the creamy filling; each element complements the other to create a truly satisfying dessert.

You may also enjoy these meyers lemon recipes.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re making Leah Chase’s Lemon Chess Pie or the Southern variation, both recipes offer a taste of Southern hospitality and tradition.

These pies celebrate the simplicity and richness of the ingredients, creating a dessert that’s both comforting and elegant.

With the right tips and a little practice, anyone can master these recipes and bring a piece of Southern cuisine into their home.

If you’re not a fan of lemon pie, take a look at this peach cobbler from Leah Chase or try her bread pudding or butter cake instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called lemon chess pie?

The name chess pie is thought to have originated from the term chest pie, referring to the pie’s ability to be stored in a pie chest without spoiling due to its high sugar content.

What is the story behind the chess pie?

Chess pie is a classic Southern dessert with roots that trace back to England. It became a staple in the American South, where it was adapted into various flavors, including lemon, becoming a regional favorite.

What is the chess in chess pie?

The chess in chess pie refers not to the game but is believed to be a corruption of the word chest, related to the storage of these pies or possibly derived from the simplicity of the ingredients, as in just pie.

What’s the difference between a chess pie and a buttermilk pie?

The main difference lies in the ingredients; chess pie typically includes cornmeal and vinegar or lemon juice, while buttermilk pie uses buttermilk for a tangy flavor, but both have a custard-like filling.

What is lemon chess pie made of?

Lemon chess pie is made with a simple combination of sugar, eggs, butter, and lemon (both zest and juice), with cornmeal and flour to thicken, all baked in a pie crust until golden and set.

How To Make A Leah Chase Lemon Chess Pie

Recipe by Barbara HuntCourse: Other Recipes


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  • Choose a recipe
  • Collect your ingredients
  • Prepare your pie
  • Enjoy

Barbara Hunt


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