The Lemon Chess Pie, or could be Lemon “Jess” Pie, is a true Southern classic. There are a few stories that are shared of how the pie got its name. Some say the Chess Pie originates in England, because of the “curd” like filling. However, you will find that the pies’ true home is in North Carolina.
The first thought is that the name came from where the pies were stored, in a pine pie safe or pie chest years ago. Depending on where you travel in the South, you may still find an antique pie chest.
The other story- a husband comes home after a long day of work, his wife is making dinner. He says to her, ” What are you making, it smells so good?” She replies, ” Honey, it is “Jess” pie!”
Lemon Chess Pie - Recipe by Terra Baltosiewich
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 Tbsp of white cornmeal
- 1 Tbsp of flour
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup 2% Chobani Greek Yogurt
- 4 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup half and half
- Zest of one lemon (about 2 Tbsps)
- Single pie shell (packaged or homemade is fine)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, spray 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray. Place pie shell in pie pan, cut extra edges off, and pinch around edges to make a nice crust.
- In large bowl, with electric mixer, mix sugar, flour, and cornmeal together. Then add in one egg at a time, then add in greek yogurt and blend well until pale yellow and slightly foamy. Add in lemon juice, half and half, and butter, continue to mix well, and still foamy in appearance.
- Fold in zest into filling, then pour filling into pie crust, bake for about 45 minutes or until filling is set all the way through. You will look for a light brown appearance on top, and crust will begin to brown. Let cool. You can serve it once cool, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
To ensure a creamy filling, be sure to blend the eggs and sugar mixture until the eggs are light and slightly foamy. Under blending at this point will cause a gritty texture in the pie.
*Important* The pie does not set completely when baking, even after 50 minutes of cooking. Your crust will start burning though. So cook for about 45 minutes, let it cool, and you can cool it in refrigerator too. It has a custard look to it, but tastes just like original. AND you can enjoy Greek yogurt in a fun new way!