Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kids in the kitchen: a good time for all!


Is there anything more fun than baking with children? This past weekend I unearthed my CHESS PIE recipe from years ago (can’t even remember the original source) and made a date with a darling little girl, Teagan, my great-granddaughter.  

We warmed up for the kitchen event by going to see Paddington at the movies. 

The movie with the misadventures of the charmingly disastrous little bear from darkest Peru was a lot of fun and I’ll probably see it again. I recommend it highly. Better yet, it prepared mentally me for the possibility of household disasters on a grand scale.   As it turned out, no mental preparation was necessary for our baking date.  I am happy to announce that there were no fires, floods or unnatural disasters.

There wasn’t even much mess! We used a prepared pie shell, because we’d chewed up a lot of time having a good time at the movies. Next time, we’ll do the whole thing ‘from scratch’.

Chess pie is a Southern recipe and one that sounded very exotic to my Canadian imagination back in the eighties when I first came across it in a woman’s magazine. I no longer have the clipping, just a handwritten recipe card, faded and splotched.  But that was all we needed. 

The pie itself it absolutely delicious, slightly translucent and tasty with a bit of crunch to the top.  There are lots of Chess Pie recipes with slight variations out there, but this one is my favorite.

Teagan and I thought it looked very nice at every stage and it was fun to make and good to eat.


Chess pie

1 pie shell, homemade or purchased
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoons flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons cornmeal
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten


Preheat your oven to 425.

Line your pieshell with tinfoil. Or pop in an aluminum pie plate. Cover with dried beans or rice if you don’t have pie weights. We used dried split peas.  Bake for 5 minutes. Remove peas (or whatever you’re using) and foil.  Bake for about two more minutes or until golden. 

Cool while you make the filling. 

Reduce oven heat to 350.  

In a medium bowl, stir sugar with melted butter, cornmeal, flour, salt, milk, vinegar, and vanilla.  Blend well, but don’t overbeat.  Don’t use a mixer for this! It’s better this way. 

Lightly beat eggs.  Add to sugar mixture. Pour into baked pie shell. 

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes.  Test by inserting a butter knife. It should come out clean!  We needed to bake ours a bit longer this time. 

Cool and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. True confession: we did it all!

Next time we’ll try chocolate chess pie or maybe coconut …

So do you have a child you enjoy cooking or baking with?  Let us know what you enjoy cooking. And if you have your own version of chess pie, let's hear it! 


Gram said...

Looks delicious....and what fun cooking with grands!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

This looks incredibly tempting MJ!! And your grand-daughter is adorable, thanks for posting! I have got to try this recipe very soon. (Atkins, be gone!)

Kate Collins said...

I've never heard of Chess Pie! But it looks creamy and delish! Almost like a custard. I'll have to give it a try.

Karen in Ohio said...

I love cooking with my kids, but they're all grown. When the two youngest were quite small my husband would pull a chair up to the counter for them to stand on, and he would let them help make Sunday pancakes from scratch. They learned how to multiply and divide, and fractions, by him making them double or halve recipes. One daughter had a cooking blog for awhile, as an outlet while she was in grad school getting her doctorate, and her profile photo was of her, age four, standing on a chair in her nightie, bedhead hair askew.

My grandson is 10, but I don't see him often enough to do much of this with him, more's the pity.

Duffy Brown said...

always cooked with the kids and now that they are grown the tradition continues. And they are all foodies and know how to cook on their own. My son just asked for two cast iron skillets for his b-day. I’m so proud. :-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Gram! This 'gram' has always loved that, even though my kids didn't think it was fun at all when they were growing up.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Mary! And it is the very opposite of Atkins. However, I did have sliver.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Every ten years or so, it shows up in the magazines like a new discovery. It's quite yummy.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love the idea of them making pancakes and the photo in the blog, Karen! And you're right about the arithmetic of cooking. I had to explain what a quarter cup was. That info is gold.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

It does pay off! My kids never liked cooking much (although they're quite competent), but the grands are all whizzes in the kitchen.

Cast iron skillets are a wonderful girt!



ceblain said...

Our two adult children both loved to cook with me, and our daughter now has three children and a husband to cook for and does more and more each time we chat about what we are making for dinner. Our son is not married and prefers to eat at our home but does love to cook for himself too. Now our three grandchildren, two girls 11-1/2 and almost 4 and a grandson who will be 8 this summer, all want to cook with Grammy, especially baking as they love to sample the final products. We bake cookies for every holiday and they are right there with their aprons and Chef's hats on doing what their mother did all those years ago. Our granddaughter makes breakfast for us when she comes to stay over which is a lovely treat. It is such a blessing to have a family who loves to cook together. Now if I could only get them to like to clean up the mess it would be even better!!!!


Libby Dodd said...

Wow! You have a great grand child?! I am very impressed. You got married and had children at age 12, right?