Once again, I went very Southern with this recipe for cornmeal week. I decided to make a lemon chess pie with a cornmeal pie crust. Chess pie is a Southern pie that’s usually made with eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and sometimes buttermilk; there are also lemon and chocolate variations of chess pie. The pie recipe is slightly adapted from one I found on the King Arthur flour website. I put a little less sugar in it and added some lemon zest to really bump up the lemon flavor in the pie. The crust is my own. There are cornmeal pie crusts out there, but I added some extras to it to make it special. The result was spectacular; the pie is very lemony and the bourbon in the pie crust gives a slight hint of flavor to the whole thing which is just fantastic. If you are a lemon pie lover, then make one of these this weekend.
LEMON CHESS PIE WITH LEMON-BOURBON CORNMEAL CRUST
1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal (I used white, use what you have)
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1-2 tablespoons bourbon
6 tablespoons melted butter
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
1 ½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
To make the crust, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the butter cubes, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. If you have a stand mixer, you can also use that, just put the flour mixture in the bowl, add the butter, and beat on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using a fork, beat the egg and bourbon in a small bowl, then pour into the flour mixture and mix until dough forms. Press the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour. After the dough has chilled, roll it out with a rolling pin on a floured surface, and press into a 9-inch pie plate.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. To make the pie, simply whisk together all of the pie ingredients until well blended, and pour into the unbaked pie crust. Bake the pie on 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until it is set in the center. If the crust is getting too brown, then shield the edges with a pie shield or aluminum foil while baking. Cool the pie and chill before serving.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg