Chess Pie..."Jes" Pie, or "Chest Pie"...who knows why!

Everyone is busy, busy, busy.  I can feel the holiday spirit beginning its swirling dance.  Lists, more lists, planning, and pondering are underway for the holiday season.

Celebrating the holidays of each culture around the world is one of the true gifts of joining the food blogging community.  I enjoy with pure delight the 'friends' I have made who display their festive tables, recipes, and family stories from all over the world.

Whether it is the recent Diwali celebration, Canadian Thanksgiving, or the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving, getting insight into the wonderful ways family share their times together is only good for the soul of this world, isn't it? reading the world news, some good soul searching and cultural understanding of one another is sorely needed. It is indeed difficult to give thanks when so many innocent lives in both Israel and Palestine are so frightened and powerless.

We sincerely give thanks for our security and stability and wish for that gift of peace to those parts of the world that are fighting a mighty fight to iron out plans that will bring an end to the fighting escalating in the Middle East.

Recently, Patrick had a yearning for something sweet.  When this happens the pantry is raided and eventually ingredients are found for some concoction or another.

"I haven't had Chess Pie in a while," he mused.  "I think we have the ingredients for a Chess Pie."

Chess Pie?  In the many many years I have known this man, not once have I ever heard him mention Chess Pie.  

"I have never had Chess Pie and don't know the first thing about it," I replied.  And off he went, happy to whip up a dessert that I knew nothing about.

The history behind Chess Pie is a very elusive one.  No one seems to know how this recipe came about.  This, of course, has opened doors for all sorts of creative folklore speculation.

Some say gentlemen were served this sweet pie as they retreated to a room to play chess. That is a rather boring folklore attempt so another story was concocted...

How about...the name was derived from Southerners’ dialect: It’s jes’ pie (it’s just pie).  That account has a better storyline to it but...still a little boring.

Yet another story emerged that suggests  the dessert is so high in sugar that it kept well in pie chests at room temperature and was therefore called “chest pie.” Southern drawl slurred the name into chess pie. 

Or, perhaps, a lemony version of the pie was so close to the traditional English lemon curd pie, often called “cheese” pie, that chess pie became its american name.

Take your pick!  Which story would you choose?

Who knows!  The history of this pie certainly seems to have been lost.  Having grown up in the south, I had never even heard of it.  

In any case, this is a quick, pretty little pie...very easy to make and could adorn a Thanksgiving table if the search for pie alternatives is still not crossed off someone's list.

Chess Pie



Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
Line pastry with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool.
Stir together sugar and next 7 ingredients until blended. Add eggs, stirring well. Pour into piecrust.
Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil after 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Coconut Chess Pie: Prepare filling as directed above; stir in 1 cup toasted flaked coconut before pouring into piecrust. Bake as directed above.

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