Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mrs. Moore’s Chess Pie

This recipe is from Marion Brown’s The Southern Cook Book, published by the UNC Press in 1951. Our dying copy was printed on very acidic paper in 1961 by Pocket Books, Inc. (NY). I can not tell you what page it’s on; it seems to be somewhere between pp. 327 & 332, but most of the pages have fallen out and been stuck back in at some point, and their corners are badly foxed.

In my earlier, rapid-metabolistic, pre-diabetic days, I penned above this recipe the words “(MOORE) FILLING!!),” but numerous experiments by Dr. SWMBO over the years have shown that scaling the recipe monkeys with the pie’s ability to set properly, so if you want more (or “moore”), just make another pie. The procedure here at The House of Chez Casa now involves using the smallest metal pie pan we have in the house (not one of the stoneware nor one of the glass plates) and cooking it on top of a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven.

Here is the recipe, word for word. I have only changed the formatting:

This “just about perfect” Chess Pie appeared in the first edition of the Burlington Episcopal Church’s Soup to Nuts some years ago, and by popular demand in the revised 1947 edition. At the request of many, I am again using it—it never fails to win applause.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ egg shell of milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, unbeaten
  1. Mix together the white and brown sugar and flour.
  2. Break the two eggs into mixture,
  3. add milk and vanilla.
  4. Melt butter and pour in last.
  5. Bake in a slow (325-degree) oven in uncooked pastry shell. If baked around 30 to 35 minutes it is better than if cooked fast.
When done it will look puffed and yellow; when cooked it falls into rich jelly-like consistency.
[This mixture makes delicious little tarts. Put tablespoon in each uncooked pastry shell, bake as above. Serve with whipped cream.—M. B.]
Mrs. S. I. Moore, Burlington, N. C.

I will only add here that the whipped cream is necessary. This is a very sweet pie, and the richness of actual cream that has just been whipped very much enhances the experience by cutting the sweetness and adding a contrasting texture. Don’t bother with non-dairy whipped toppings or even semi-dairy spray junque from a can. Open up a carton of whipping cream, toss it into a vessel with some vanilla and a bit of confectioner’s sugar, fire up a beater, and whip that stuff. It’s quick and delicious.

1 comment:

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

I've made two edits to the ingredients and adjusted the baking process over the years.
1. Use a tablespoon of flour. It helps the pie set up better.
2. Use a tablespoon of vanilla, because, Vanilla. Since we buy Mexican vanilla in large quantities, it's not expensive either.
3. Bake at 350.

Slice into at least 8, if not 12 pieces. Whipped cream will help cut the sugar taste.

Over the years, I've seen plenty of times when the pie wouldn't set up until it had baked for 45/50 minutes, which ruins a delicate crust. As noted above, putting a rack as low as possible in the kven, with a pizza stone on it and the pie pan on the pizza stone gets a perfect amount of heat to the sugars and butter so that they set-up.