Grandma’s Chess Pie?? (Oh,yes, I did!)

Thanksgiving wreathe is hung on the front door and the kitchen is bustling with activities! And, you are going to kiss my toes. Yes, you are, because I’m going to part with a family recipe. Yes, I am. Grandma’s Chess Pie. A scant few of you will know about Chess pie, and I’m wagering those few readers will be Southerners. Grandma is not with us as you know, so I’m not going to ever know where and when she started making chess pie, but it’s a family tradition and today I’m passing her recipe along to all of you. Why not? [“There are no secrets,” my friend Suzette told me once in the woods of Sonoma County many many years ago. What ensued was an epiphany, upon which I could not fully elaborate, but trust me and ponder at your leisure.] What is wonderful about chess pie is not only how delicious it is, but also how easy it is. And I think in the face of the overwhelming culinary expectations that have been built into this particular holiday it’s very very handy to have an easy recipe to rely on. (We need all the breaks we can get, right?) So here goes.

Gram’s Chess Pie

Make a single pie crust and put in a pie pan and bake it for about ten minutes max. in a 425 F. oven.
You can cheat and buy a crust at Trader Joe’s or whatever, but be sure to partially bake.

In a medium sized saucepan cream 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter.
Turn on low heat and begin adding the following:

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of white flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup nutmeats (That’s what Grandma said. Nutmeats. Quaint, right? I use pecans.)
1 cup raisins (I use currents. More fun.)
1 teaspoon vanilla (Puleeze only use the real thing.)

You’re almost done. Really.

Heat it up over low heat, stirring until it thickens. It will thicken. It’s magic! It does not take long.

Beat the egg whites. Fold them into the above mixture in that same saucepan. (See why it can’t be a small saucepan??)

Pour into the partially baked pie shell. It will look like this.

Then put in a 350 F. oven for half an hour. Nicely browned, it will now look like this.

I particularly love how good this pie smells! Enjoy, dear readers! I hope this serves those of you who were still wrestling with what to make for dessert tomorrow!

I know how incredibly busy you are today and tomorrow and I barely know how you found time to read any blogs (and am honored) so I am going to simply offer you a very special blessing that Antonia always said before eating our meals when she was a little girl. When we lived in Holland she said it in Dutch. When we came back to the States she said it in English. Here it is in English.

Dear Earth who gave to us this food,
Dear Sun who made it ripe and good,
Dear Earth, dear Sun by you we live,
Our loving thanks to you we give.

St Francis

From our house to yours–Happy Thanksgiving!

Love and blessings, and deep gratitude for all your kindnesses, seen and unseen.
Kathryn xoxo

23 Responses to “Grandma’s Chess Pie?? (Oh,yes, I did!)”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Kathryn! And thanks for sharing the recipe for Chess Pie!

  2. Good evening, Nancy and thank you very much! Kathryn xox

  3. Happy Thanksgiving and a big ole thanks for the recipe. I have not had chess pie in years.

  4. Hi, Deb! I really do think it’s an old recipe and rather out of favor. I hope it makes a comeback as it’s so yummy! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. πŸ™‚ Kathryn xox

  5. Kathryn I wish you and your family Happy Thanksgiving. What a wonderful and welcoming wreathe, such a pretty and warm colour combination. I have actually been to your part of the world, Sonoma County and wow that was stunning. Me and the family drove all the way from San Diego and visited friend and relatives on our way up to Oregon. A wonderful West Coast road trip, your countryside is so beautiful. Enjoy your T.G holiday. / Tyra

  6. What a beautiful wreathe Kathryn – Hope you have a lovely thanksgiving.

  7. Thank you, Tyra! I’m happy to know you have been to Marin/Sonoma/Mendocino–all three counties feeling like “home” as I’ve lived so long in each. I’ve also made my way from San Diego to Oregon. It is a spectacular life-altering journey and I’m delighted you have made it! Thanks for sharing this. Kathryn xox

  8. Good morning, Karen! I am just beginning my Thanksgiving morning. Thank you for your well wishes from the UK! Kathryn xox

  9. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathryn!
    What a beautiful blessing by St. Francis!
    And chess pie…oh my!
    The kittens will want to search for those mittens, for sure!
    Have a wonderful day.

  10. Beautiful wreath, beautiful prayer, Kathryn! Thanks for sharing, and a very happy Thanksgiving to you! I adore chess pie—it’s my very favorite—but I never heard of putting nuts and raisins in one. Intriguing!

  11. Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving, Philip! Wish I could serve up a piece of chess pie to you directly! I’m certain your plate will be overflowing with delicious options today! Kathryn xoxo

  12. Hi, Our Friend Ben! See? Second Southerner who knew about chess pie, and now I’m dying to know how it’s made without the raisins and nuts! Is it simply a custard? You must try Grandma’s recipe. I know you will love it! Happy Thanksgiving, my dear. πŸ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  13. Hi Kathryn,
    I read your post with your grandmother’s Chess Pie but had already made all of my goodies for Thanksgiving. However, now that Christmas is coming, there is lots more baking time…so I will give it a try during the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing one of your old favorites. I have a recipe for pie crust that was my grandmothers. It is always flakey and of great texture and consistency; that is, if I make it right:) It seemed my grandmother was really the only one who could make it just ‘perfectly’–even though she shared her recipe. It seems some things can’t ever be replicated exactly since half of the reason we think they are great is due to the person making them, don’t you think? Have a good day! Jan

  14. Hi, Jan, You’ve named the most special ingredient of all–the dear memory of the beloved relative who taught you to make it in the first place. I hope you do make chess pie, however, and let me know if the recipe stands up to goodness, sans the memory! Or perhaps you will do me the honor of remembering you got if from me? In any case, it’s a fine Christmas recipe and I hope you enjoy! Kathryn xox

  15. I’d been hoping this comment would eventually get approved by WP, but no, still fussy in the Comments Dept. and no answers as to why, in spite of others having same dilemma. So here’s a comment from Racquel, which would not go through:

    Wow that looks great and I bet it smells heavenly Kathryn! Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

    Thanks, Racquel! Sorry for the delayed post. I was holding out hope. Kathryn xox

  16. Ohh that looks so yummy! My favorite pie is raisin. Not sour cream raisin but just plain old raisin off the Sunmaid bag. So your recipe would be right up my alley! Thanks so very much for sharing, Kim

  17. Welcome, Kim! I’ve never had raisin pie, but I bet I would like it! Thanks for the tip! Hope you enjoy the chess pie! Kathryn xxo

  18. Hi Kathryn, I hope you had a Wonderful Thanksgiving. I have a recipe for chess pie that’s a bit different. I’ll have to try yours. πŸ™‚ Mine has no raisins nor nutmeats. Mine does include a Tablespoon of cornmeal. (It’s a little like a custard pie.) Your wreath is beautiful, by the way.

  19. Hi, Shady Gardener! And that’s precisely what My Friend Ben said, no raisins or nutmeats. Hmmm. Yes, try Grandma’s. I can’t imagine it without the raisins or pecans. It’s what makes it so yummy, I think! I wonder what the cornmeal does? Is it a thickener?It must be. Oh, is it instead of the flour for thickening? Learning, learning. The wreath was a gift from Smith and Hawken. I’m really enjoying! Kathryn xox

  20. Hi Kathryn,
    I never did get to make the chess pie, but I was responsible for two side dishes. My brother came from Manhattan πŸ™‚ , and Mom was doing better! more πŸ™‚
    I made creamed spinach, which I do frequently with lowfat milk usually as the roux thickens it up.Those big boxes of washed baby spinach really makes the job easy, as one need lots of spinach as it cooks down.
    I then did a corn custard, which was a huge hit. I reduced the sugar intake and added freshly grated nutmeg. It really was a success! Lots of fun. I think I will do this in individual ramekins next time.
    I volunteered the dessert for Christmas, so it is either your panne cotta recipe or your chess pie recipe! Fun decisions!

  21. Hi, Philip! Wow. Creamed spinach sounds good, and so does corn custard! I think I could live on that for a couple of days at least! I’m so honored that two of my Plant recipes are up for Christmas! I’d go with the panne cotta, as it’s different from what anyone would expect and so delicious. I’m thinking I will do same–with blueberries on top! Save the chess pie for Easter! πŸ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  22. Hello Kathryn – saw Stuart’s tweets to you and had to come for a look.

    Thank you so much for telling us how to make the pie. I’ve been waiting eight years for a Houston-born friend to fulfill her promise to bake a Chess Pie and share the family recipe. This sounds delicious.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  23. Why, hi, Annie! So glad you stopped in! Eight years is a long time! I must warn you that Southern feedback is that they make it sans raisins and nuts. But this one has worked very well for us for years and years.
    Enjoy! Kathryn xoxo

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