By MARY JANE MAFFINI
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.
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!