The staff at Petra Paredez’s New York pie store Petee’s is used to having clients ask what a chess pie is — often proper after they’ve ordered one. The solutions to that query range, and never simply among the many employees.
Whereas there are those that prefer to declare that chess pie is a quintessential Southern-style custard pie made with butter, buttermilk, and cornmeal, it’s not fairly that easy. To start with, chess pie isn’t discovered solely within the South; it’s additionally served in Appalachia and elements of the Midwest. So its elements rely significantly on the area and traditions its baker is pulling from.
In accordance with Paredez, a chess pie will all the time comprise butter. Past that, some bakers will use evaporated milk and even cream rather than buttermilk. Others firmly imagine {that a} chess pie isn’t any place for cornmeal, although they could use a little bit flour — and a few bakers favor a mixture of each. There are dozens of taste variations too, like chocolate, lemon, peanut butter, and a beloved salted honey model, amongst numerous others. The truth is, brownie pie and most nut pies are all sorts of chess pie.
On the menu at Petee’s, there’s at the moment a black-bottom almond chess pie flavored with amaretto, in addition to a salty chocolate model that’s one of many store’s best-sellers. One other winner is Paredez’s lemon chess pie — although as you’ll see right here, the recipe will be tweaked and shine simply as vivid with a mixture of citrus juices.
Citrus Chess Pie With Poppy Seed Crust
Makes one 9-inch (23-centimeter) pie
1¼ cups (250 grams) sugar2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons extra-fine cornmeal ½ teaspoon salt Zest of 1 lemon or 2 teaspoons blended citrus zest ¼ cup (60 milliliters) freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 2 to three lemons (or ¼ cup blended citrus juice) ½ teaspoon vanilla 1⁄3 cup (75 milliliters) buttermilk 3 eggs 1 egg yolk 6 tablespoons (80 grams) butter, melted and cooled 1 backside crust, crimped, from the poppy seed recipe under (you possibly can both halve the recipe or save the opposite crust within the freezer)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 levels.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk collectively the sugar, flour, cornmeal, and salt. Whisk within the lemon or citrus zest and juice, vanilla, buttermilk, eggs, and egg yolk till clean. Add the melted butter and whisk till properly built-in.
Step 3: Place the crust on a baking sheet and pour within the filling, ensuring to scrape the whole contents from the perimeters of the bowl into the pie. Bake for quarter-hour, then scale back the warmth to 350 levels and bake for 40 minutes extra, or till the middle is overrated and the highest of the pie is golden.
Step 4: Switch the pie to a cooling rack and permit the pie to chill utterly earlier than slicing. Serve at room temperature. The pie will maintain for as much as 1 week at room temperature.
Butter Pastry Dough
To efficiently execute this recipe, it’s essential to maintain the elements on the proper temperature, which lets you incorporate the butter into the flour with out emulsifying it. Butter must be straight from the fridge and flour must be at freezer temperature. My uncommon strategy of dissolving the sugar and salt in water, fairly than including them to the flour, ensures even seasoning for a flavorful dough. This “dough liquid” must be ice chilly.
1 tablespoon sugar1¼ teaspoons salt1⁄4 cup (60 milliliters) boiling water1½ loosely stuffed cups (180 grams) pastry flour, from the freezer2⁄3 loosely stuffed cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour, from the freezer1 cup (2 sticks/225 grams) chilly unsalted butter, minimize into 1⁄2 -inch (12-millimeter) pieces2 tablespoons poppy seedsExtra flour, for rolling
make poppy seed dough by hand:
Step 1: Stir the sugar, salt, and water collectively in a small bowl till the sugar and salt are absolutely dissolved. Place the bowl within the freezer when you put together step 2, no less than quarter-hour. The liquid must be ice chilly earlier than it’s added to the dough.
Step 2: Put the 2 sorts of flour in a big bowl and dump the butter into the flour. Toss to coat the butter items within the flour. Working shortly, use your thumbs and index fingers to squeeze every chunk of fats into a skinny sheet, between 1⁄8 and 1⁄4 inch (3 and 6 millimeter) thick. Shake the contents of the bowl to make sure the sheets are well-coated in flour.
Step 3: Sprinkle the ice-cold sugar-salt answer over the fats and flour. Add the poppy seeds and use your fingers to flippantly toss the contents of the bowl round to disperse the liquid.
Step 4: Squeeze the shaggy mess along with your fists, repeatedly and shortly, till the chunks get larger and extra cohesive.
Step 5: At first it will likely be crumbly and appear as if it received’t come collectively, however with continued compression, you possibly can start to make a big mound of dough. Flatten it into two disks about an inch and a half thick. The dough doesn’t have to be chilled, but when it will get heat or gentle, you possibly can throw it within the fridge for quarter-hour.
roll a dough sheet and make a backside crust
Step 1: Put together a clear, dry, nonporous floor by sprinkling it with flour.
Step 2: Place a disk of dough on prime of the floured floor and sprinkle it with a little bit extra flour. Place your rolling pin within the middle of the dough and roll away from your self with agency, even stress, however not sufficient pressure to squish the dough. As you strategy the sting of the dough, use rather less stress in order that it doesn’t develop into too skinny on the perimeters.
Step 3: Rotate the dough about 45 levels. Place the rolling pin on the middle of the disk and roll away from your self as soon as once more.
Step 4: Proceed to rotate and roll, including extra flour as wanted to stop the dough from sticking to the floor and/or the rolling pin, till you’ve rolled the dough to roughly 1⁄8 inch (3 millimeters) thick. If the dough begins to separate on the perimeters, you possibly can gently press it again collectively earlier than persevering with to roll it out. The completed sheet of dough must be roughly 15 inches (30.5 centimeters) in diameter.
Step 5: Switch the sheet of dough right into a pie pan, centering it so that you’ve no less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of additional dough all the best way across the edges of the pan. Whereas transferring, assist the dough along with your fingers unfold out, to be able to distribute the load and stop breakage.
Step 6: Alternatively, put your hand and wrist below the silicone mat alongside the middle line of the dough circle and choose it up, letting one half of the circle dangle on one aspect of your hand, and the opposite half of the dough circle dangle on the opposite aspect.
Step 7: Lay one half of the dough alongside the middle line of the pie pan, then fold the opposite half over so the silicone mat is mendacity excessive, then take away the mat.
Step 8: As soon as the sheet of dough is within the pan, ease it into the nook the place the bottom of the pan meets the perimeters.
Step 9: With a purpose to do that with out stretching or breaking the dough, elevate the sting of the dough with one hand to permit it to fall into place whereas gently urgent it into the nook with the opposite. If not crimping or including a prime crust, trim the crust by operating a knife all the best way across the outer fringe of the pan.
make a crimped backside shell
Step 1: After transferring your dough sheet into the pie pan, elevate the sting of the dough as much as make a raised, hole space, about 3⁄8 inch (1 centimeter or rather less than 1⁄2 inch (12 millimeter) excessive, over the sting of the pie pan, urgent the surplus dough in opposition to the rim of the pie pan to trim it. This will provide you with sufficient dough to kind an ornamental edge.
Step 2: Then place the thumb and forefinger of your nondominant hand in order that there’s about 1⁄2 inch (12 millimeter) of dough between them, and push them gently into the sting of the crust, proper over the rim of the pie dish, whereas concurrently utilizing the forefinger of your dominant hand to push the dough from the alternative aspect into the house between your thumb and forefinger.
Step 3: Shift your nondominant hand in order that your thumb is now within the spot that your nondominant index finger simply occupied, and repeat the identical movement. Proceed all the best way across the fringe of the pie. The rounded edges that consequence from this methodology forestall the burning that might in any other case occur if you happen to pinched the dough into skinny, sharp factors.
Primarily based off a recipe from PIE FOR EVERYONE: Recipes and Tales from Petee’s Pie, New York’s Finest Pie Store by Petra Paredez. Pictures copyright © 2020 by Victor Garzon. Revealed by ABRAMS.

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