Chess Pie

Chess Pie

One of the reasons I love living here is because we have met people from all over the world over the past nine years, and some of them have become our dearest friends.  In fact, when we took our two month trip through Canada and the USA two years ago, almost all of it was spent traveling with or visiting people that we met here in Mexico.

It’s also one of the reasons I have learned what people eat in different places of the world.  In the past few years we have become friends with a couple where the husband is from Tennessee and the wife from Costa Rica.  When they last visited, we asked them if there was anything special that we could make when they came over and the husband quickly said Chess Pie.

Oh great, why did I ask, I had never heard of it!  And when someone comes with visions of the dessert of their childhood, and I make it for the first time, not knowing how it’s supposed to taste, I could shatter all of their childhood dreams.  So what did I do? I let my mom make it for them heh heh heh.  Nobody can get mad at Grandma if her pie fails.  (Of course it didn’t).

Back they came this past week, and this time his mom and step-dad came with him.  We had met her previously and man, is his mom a dynamo, with that friendly southern style I wish I had as a proper Canadian.  As we were driving out to eat one night she said, “you know, I am pretty sure I have a card that says the next time you come visit, you’ll make me Chess pie”.  I was too scared to ask for proof of such card, so I knew a Chess pie was now officially on my to-do-list.

I do remember that when we ate the Chess pie my mom made previously, it reminded me a lot of the Sugar pie’s that they make in Quebec, quite a simple pie, and very sweet.  Which actually means you can cut the pieces smaller and serve more people.  Score.

I did some research, learning the difference between Buttermilk pie, Southern pie, and Chess pie, and I’m sure there are many more.  Some days, right after I wish I was Italian, I wish I was raised in the southern USA.  Food is such a part of life in a way you don’t find in other areas, and I love it.  I’ve not spent enough time in the true American south, it’s on my to-do-travel-list.

I took my trusty pie-crust recipe and combined the ingredients for the pie filling, which, by the way, couldn’t be any easier or faster.   I was told a true Chess pie has cornmeal as the thickener, that’s how I knew I had an authentic version.  It was easy as pie (sorry, couldn’t help myself) to make, and, most importantly, Momma Tennessee declared it a hit at our BBQ feast.

You can add some whipped cream to this, or try one of my ice-cream recipes on the side like an Irish cream flavor or perhaps Chocolate Raspberry or later this week I will have a rum and raisin recipe to try.

Here’s to not shattering childhood memories and making a southern Momma happy for one night.


  • 1 No-Fail Pie Crust
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 TAB cornmeal
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten


Combine all ingredients except crust into a bowl, whisk well.  Roll pastry into pie pan and pinch the sides.  Pour liquid into crust.  Bake in a pre-heated 325 oven for 45-50 minutes or until set.  Let cool on rack .

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