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Buttermilk-Lemon Chess Pie
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Makes: 1 (9-inch) pie (8 to 10 servings)

Chess pie, or “chest pie,” may have gotten its name from the small, tin-roofed cabinets that used to be common in kitchens for storing cooling pies and other baked goods. This version has a rich, eggy custard filling with a tangy flavor from buttermilk and lemon zest. Plus, its crust doesn’t require any prebaking to stay flaky, so the whole thing’s relatively fast to put together and get into the oven. A thick slice stands perfectly on its own, no adornment required.

Game plan: You can make the pie dough ahead of time, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.


For the crust:

  1. 1Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the butter and shortening and toss with your fingers until well coated in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until reduced to pea-size pieces, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. 2Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of the ice water and the lemon juice and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of ice water if the dough is too dry, but don’t overwork the dough or it’ll become tough.) Form the dough into a flat disk. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. 3Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out into a round approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, fold the excess under itself, and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the pie crust until ready to bake.

For the filling:

  1. 1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack at the lowest level. Place the dough-lined pie plate on a baking sheet.
  2. 2Whisk the sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the buttermilk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the melted butter and lemon zest and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie plate.
  3. 3Bake until the filling is just set in the middle and the top is golden brown, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place the pie on a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature before cutting. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before serving.
  • Buttermilk-Lemon Chess Pie
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