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Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie

Makes 1 (10-inch) pie

Chess pie, a staple of southern cuisine, is a classic dessert known for its creamy, buttermilk custard filling. This recipe welcomes the bright flavor of fresh lemons to bring out the best of summer.


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 ounces chilled unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut into cubes
    • ½ to ¾ cup ice water


    • 4 ounces butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Grated zest and juice of two lemons
    • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 325°F.

    Mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Cut butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or food processor, mix until a coarse meal forms. Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix just until dough forms a ball. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator at least one hour, preferably overnight.

    Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and let rest for about 15 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Crimp edges and refrigerate 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, use a hand beater to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Then add in the flour, starch, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice and continue to beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then add the buttermilk and beat until smooth and creamy and everything is incorporated. Pour into the prepared 10-inch pie crust. Bake on the top rack of the oven until lightly browned on top and the center is set, about 40 to 50 minutes. When it’s done, the pie filling will jiggle as one mass when shaken. If the center is liquid or wavy when shaken, continue baking. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving. The pie can also be covered and refrigerated up to one week. Serve with Macerated Raspberries (recipe follows) and whipped cream.

      Macerated Raspberries

      • 1 pint fresh raspberries
      • 1 cup granulated sugar
      • Pinch kosher salt
      • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

      Place the raspberries in a mixing bowl, cover with the sugar, salt, and pepper, and use the back of a wooden spoon to muddle the raspberries into the sugar. No need to combine thoroughly, just mash them slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight before using. Stir gently before serving.