Posts tagged ‘chess pie’
Late in August, my lucky stars converged in such a way that I was able to participate in a marvelous gathering in Patrick County, Virginia, hosted by Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm. http://www.borderspringsfarm.com/ I met Craig at the annual Symposium of the Southern Foodways Alliance in Oxford, Mississippi, where he was roasting and serving his fine pasture-raised lamb to our grateful and happy crowd of SFA folks. Border Springs Farm is only about two hours from where I live in Chapel Hill, NC, and when Lambstock 2011 weekend rolled around, I eagerly loaded up the minivan with pillow and blankets for car-camping, while loading in an array of pies with which to supplement the lamb-centric savory feast I had heard was in store for one and all. Lambstock 2011 brought a happy crew of chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, food producers, brewers, winemakers, coffee roasters, and other food-loving people together to cook, eat, and enjoy hand-crafted artisan-made music from a host of fine bands. Here is a small souvenir of Lambstock, a delicious gambol in the fields of Border Springs Farm, and the finale to my memorable summer of 2011. Craig’s generosity is wider than the astounding panoramas backlighting every gentle hillside of the farm. Border collies zoom around, sheep graze in the distance, breezes meander even in the August sunshine, and culinary delights appear along with friends and new people you want to get to know. I am thankful to have attended, and I invite you to visit my Facebook page for a few dozen photos, an album of my good times at Lambstock. You’ll find them on my Nancie McDermott Author Page .
There I’ve posted a Lambstock photo album with several dozen photos of Lambstock fun. Check them out and share your comments on the photos if something comes to mind. You can also comment at the end of this post. Love to be in touch, and to hear what you think!
For more good times at Lambstock 2011, visit my Nancie McDermott Author Page on Facebook:
For more, do visit “Okra” Magazine, published by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, for Lambstock reflections by Brent Rosen, here:
You can check out Brent Rosen’s blog here:
My friend Martha Hall Foose is a chef, author, teacher and storyteller. She combines homegrown Mississippi Delta smarts with professional culinary education, work in France, and world travels, and her writing and teaching open windows into the kitchen for her readers and students. Her book, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook won the prestigious James Beard Award for 2009, and it belongs on your bookshelf and kitchen counter if you love Southern cooking or just want to know more about it from a brilliant writer-cook. Martha’s Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie is luxuriously rich, perfectly paired with her cream cheese pastry, which is simply patted into the pie pan with no need to roll it out. You’ll find it in my pie book, and also in the just published treasury, The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, because she is so generous and her pie is so good.
Martha Hall Foose’s Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie
Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
Cream Cheese Piecrust
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1/4 pound, 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the piecrust, combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until they are evenly combined. Add the flour and continue beating a low speed just until the dough comes together into a ball. Press and pat the dough into a pie pan, building up a thicker top edge of the crust. Set the piecrust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Filling
3/4 cup warm, freshly brewed strong orange pekoe tea
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornmeal
Zest of one lemon
1 cup (1/2 pound, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 large egg yolks
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl or pitcher, combine the tea, vanilla, lemon juice and vinegar and stir well. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornmeal, and lemon zest, and stir with a fork to mix them together well.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is fluffy. Add the sugar-flour mixture gradually, and continue beating to combine well. Add the egg yolks a few at a time, mixing well each time. Add the tea mixture and beat to combine everything evenly and well. The filling will be soft and liquid, not thick, and may seem curdled, but don’t worry about that.
Pour the filling into the piecrust. Bake until the top and crust are handsomely browned, and the pie is fairly firm throughout, with just a little jiggling in the center, about 50 minutes. Place on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and cool to room temperature. Chill two hours or more before serving.
From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, Edited by Sara Roahen and John T. Edge; University of Georgia Press, 2010. All rights reserved.
My friend Carol Thomason Price told me about her mother’s stellar reputation as a cook, and for that I am deeply grateful. Mrs. Betty Thomason generously shared two of her recipes with me, one for classic chess pie, and the other for this chocolate chess pie. Luscious pleasure, it’s heavenly just as it is; and with a good-sized cloud of barely-sweetened whipped cream on the side, perfection. Keep unsweetened chocolate on hand in your baking pantry, and you will never be more than a few minutes away from the rewards of this marvelous deep-flavored pie. Consider making it into small tarts by lining the cups of a mini-muffin pan with pastry, pinching up a small rim about the surface of the pan, and filling them a good 3/4 full. They should bake off in 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your pan and your oven. Watch for that puffing up and slight cracking, and test the center of a tiny tart — When a knife blade comes out clean, no filling sticking to it, they’re ready to come out of the oven, cool down, and disappear, leaving only smiles.
Betty Thomason’s Chocolate Chess Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch piecrust
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick; 4 ounces)
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and stir with a fork to beat the eggs and mix everything together well. Cut the butter into 3 or 4 chunks, and chop the chocolate into 4 chunks. Combine them in a medium saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook, swirling or stirring often, until the chocolate and butter melt, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir them together into a smooth sauce. Remove from the stove, add the sugar and stir well to dissolve it into the chocolate mixture. Add the egg mixture and stir with a fork or a whisk until everything comes together into a smooth, dark, shiny chocolate filling. Pour the filling into the piecrust and bake in the 325 degree F oven, until the pie puffs up, the surface cracks, the crust is nicely browned, and the filling is fairly firm all the way through, 35 to 45 minutes. You can test by carefully inserting the tip of a sharp knife, or a toothpick, into the center of the pie. It should come out clean, even though the filling may still be tender. Place the pie on a cooling rack or folded kitchen towel and cool to room temperature.
This recipe comes from Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan by Nancie McDermott (Chronicle Books, October 2010). All rights reserved.