Buttermilk chess pie is perfect for showcasing seasonal fresh fruit like summer peaches.
Buttermilk chess pie is a great southern classic that features tangy buttermilk along with a tiny bit of heft from cornmeal and enough sugar to give you the shakes. It’s a fine recipe, but a little goes a long, long way. A few years back, I developed a whole series of chess pie variations for the Jack Daniel’s Cookbook and I remember musing about the versatility of the chess pie can be because it’s made with such simple pantry ingredients. The pie is essentially an eggy vanilla sugar canvas so serve in small slivers alongside whatever fresh fruit is in season. The fruit balances out the sweetness. Right now, it’s fresh peaches, berries and mangoes. Later in the summer we’ll go to plums, apricots and fresh figs. In the fall, how about sauteed apples or fresh pear slices? In the winter, we’ll plop a big spoonful of tart cranberry compote on the plate.
Unlike southern biscuit shortcake, where we advocate a less sweet biscuit for carrying sweetened fruit, this is a 180 degree reversal. The pie is uber sweet so keep the fruit fresh and light. And if you don’t keep buttermilk around the house, go for a straight chess pie. All you have to do is substitute milk for the buttermilk and add one tablespoon of vinegar.
- 1 unbaked 9-inch one-crust pie shell
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon self-rising or plain cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and pre-bake for 10 minutes until set, but not browned so the filling won't make the crust soggy.
- Combine all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the warm pie crust.
- Bake about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and filling is set.
- Serve warm, room temp or chilled.
- This is a super easy pie that you'll want to make often to serve accented with any seasonsal fruit. It's very sweet so you don't have to sweeten the fruit you serve with it too much. Try adding grated orange, lemon or lime zest to the filling.