Food & dining

Recipe for lemon chess pie

Lemon chess pie

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Lemon chess pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Made with sugar, eggs, and butter, this smooth and lemony custard pie is a version of chess pie. Chess pies supposedly originated in England, where they included cheese, but somewhere along the line, the cheese was left out and the name was changed.


1cup flour
1tablespoon sugar
¼teaspoon salt
6tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
2tablespoons ice water mixed with 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Extra flour (for sprinkling)


1. Have on hand a 9-inch pie plate.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt to blend them. With your fingers or two blunt knives, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

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3. Stir the ice water mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until the dough comes together in clumps. Add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary until clumps form. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter, shape into a flat disk, and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 12-inch circle. Lift it onto the rolling pin and ease it into the pan. Fold the overhang under like a hem and press the rim so it is ¼ inch high. Prick the bottom well all over. Freeze for 20 minutes.

5. Set the oven at 375 degrees.


6. Line the pastry with foil and fill it with dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully lift out the foil and beans. Continue baking for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. (Total baking time is 25 minutes.) Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.


cups sugar
2tablespoons yellow cornmeal
¼teaspoon salt
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons (½ cup juice)
¼cup unsalted butter, melted
1teaspoon vanilla extract
cup heavy cream
Whipped cream

1. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, cornmeal, and salt until evenly blended.

2. With the mixer set on medium speed, blend in the lemon juice, followed by the lemon rind, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream. Pour the mixture into the crust.

3. Bake the pie for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.

4. Set the pie on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream. Jean Kressy

Jean Kressy can be reached at
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