Pie Recipes

From my cookbook, MS. AMERICAN PIE

Chess Pie

Basic Pie Crust — for SINGLE Crust Pie

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/4 cup Crisco
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice water (fill a cup but use only enough to moisten dough)

In a deep bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour with your hands until you see marble-sized lumps form. Think mixed nuts, like peanut and almonds. Add ice water a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour. Keep your movements light, as if you are tossing dressing into a salad with your hands.

When the dough feels moistened enough, do a “squeeze test” and when it holds together without dry bits in the bottom of the bow you’re done. Do not overwork the dough! You are not kneading it like bread. It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!

Form it into a disk shape, sprinkle flour onto your rolling surface, and roll flat and thin to fit your pie dish. (Roll thin to where you can almost see through it.) Keep rolling surface and pin free from gunk to keep dough from sticking.

To get it into pie dish, peel the dough back slowly and carefully, until it’s “folded” in half. Use a dough scraper if you have one to help lift it. Lay it halfway across your pie dish then unfold, pressing the air space out from the bottom edges of the dish.

Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge with a scissors. Using your fingertips, roll the crust edge under so it sits like a rope on the rim of the dish. (Do not fold it. Do not push it down into the dish. You want it sitting on the rim of the dish, but not hanging over it.) For a decorative edge, either press down with a fork, mold the dough with your fingers into a ruffle pattern, or cut out shapes of dough and place them around the rim.

FILLING

2 cups sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornmeal (I use 2 tbsp, throwing in an extra tbsp, because why not?!)
5 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted (Granny Heck calls for 1/2 cup —that’s a whole stick! — but the excess butter pools in the center.)
2 tsp vanilla (Granny Heck calls for one, but I like the extra, and I don’t think she would mind.)

  1. Prepare the Basic Pie Dough for a single-crust pie.
  2. Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cornmeal.
  3. Beat in the eggs and buttermilk until blended.
  4. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla, then pour into the pie crust.
  5. Start at 425 to set the crust (about 10 to 15 minutes.) Then turn temp down to 350 degrees for another 30 minutes, or until filling is set.

NOTE: True to my reckless, lazy baking style, I just mix everything in no certain order—and it still comes out the same.

TIP: I bake this until the middle puffs up before taking it out of the oven. It will “sink” as it cools, leaving you with a crusty, browned top reminiscent of crème brûlée.

Serve at room temp. Store in refrigerator.