Monday, June 24, 2013

This is really good pie, y'all


So my sister makes this great chocolate chess pie.  She's a good sharer, so the sunny girl and I know how to make it now, too.

One question that I have not really found a satisfactory answer to is, "Chocolate chess pie?  WTF?"
Here's what Linda Stradley, of the website What's Cooking America, says about the origin of the name:
Chess pies are a Southern specialty; they have a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, and perhaps a small amount of flour. Some recipes include cornmeal and others are made with vinegar. Flavorings, such as vanilla, lemon juice, or chocolate are also added to vary the basic recipe. [ . . . ] The origin of the name is uncertain, but there are plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore surrounding the name. One explanation suggests that the word is “chest,” pronounced with a drawl and used to describe these pies baked with so much sugar they could be stored in a pie chest rather than refrigerated. Another [probably untrue] story is about the plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great - “Jes’ pie” was her answer. Some people theorize that since the English lemon curd pie filling is very close to lemon chess pie, and they believe the word “chess” is an Americanization of the English word “cheese,” referring to curd pie.
So, yeah.  Linda Stradley doesn't really know, either.

Anyway -- here's how you make it:

The ingredient list for the filling is pretty simple:  sugar, eggs, butter, evaporated milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  You see in my photo that I use a ready-to-bake pie crust.  If you make fabulous pie crust that everyone drools over, then by all means -- knock yourself out.  Anyone who might have an expectation that I am the kind of person who makes her own pie crust has not been paying attention.

The preparation of the filling is pretty darned simple, too.  Just put all the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix at high speed for about two minutes.

Pour the filling into the waiting pie crust.


Crimp the edges of the crust in a way that suits your fancy.  My friend Saskia can make a pie crust edge look like it's been braided or something.

I cannot.

You don't pre-bake the crust, or prick it with a fork, or say any magic words over it.

Well, OK.  If you want to say some magic words -- again, knock yourself out.

I use a pie ring to protect the edges of my pie crust from getting overcooked.  My pie ring makes me feel like I am a real cook, even though I'm really a total poseur.  Don't tell anyone.

If you are worried that your crust will get overdone, you can protect it by wrapping aluminum . . . aluminium?  You can just wrap some tin foil around your pie plate.

After you bake it it will look like this, and it will make your whole house smell like a chocolate factory.


The sunny girl made some whipped cream for us to have with our pie.  You'll have to get that recipe from her.

+ + + + +

Here's the nitty-gritty:



Unbaked pie crust (bottom only) 
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 5-oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl for two-ish minutes, and pour them into the unbaked pie crust.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 50 minutes.  The pie is done when it looks "set" like a souffle.  You can serve it plain, or with whipped cream, or with Cool Whip, or with ice cream, or . . . .

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