I went most of my life never even hearing of a buttermilk chess pie. Likely because it's an old southern dish, and I didn't grow up in the south. After moving here a few years ago, however, I discovered it and fell in love.
It's perfect in its simplicity, and a nice basic pie to serve alongside fruits. It's rich and quite sweet, so you don't need a lot, but it's a fun and delicious addition to your repertoire of desserts if it's not already there.
I like this recipe from Deep South Dish because it actually includes buttermilk and some lemon, which cut down on the sweetness just a bit.
Old Fashioned Buttermilk Chess Pie
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 rounded tablespoon of cornmeal
2 rounded tablespoons of flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Zest from one lemon, chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 unbaked pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt. To that add the butter, buttermilk, and vanilla; mix. Beat the eggs, add and mix. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Place pie crust into a 9 inch pie plate and pour mixture into the pie shell.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and set. Use a pie shield (or aluminum foil) on the edges after about 20 minutes to prevent crust from overbrowning. Can also tent entire pie with aluminum foil if the top of the pie itself is overbrowning.
Let cool completely on a rack. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a grating of fresh nutmeg on top.
*If you don't use or don't have buttermilk, just use the soured milk method. (for this recipe, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and enough whole milk to make the 1/2 cup)
Image via kimberlykv/Flickr