Chess pie is a uniquely Southern dessert, although James Beard says it originated in England. Some say the name for chess pie comes from an Americanization of the term for English cheese pie, while others say that the name chess pie came from a quaint exchange in which someone asked a baker what her new pie was called, to which she adroitly replied, “It’s jes’ pie.”
Made with a filling of flour, butter, sugar, eggs and sometimes cornmeal or vinegar, chess pies were a cost-effective recipe that chefs turned to when times were tough and ingredients were hard to come by — or too expensive or frivolous for home bakers to purchase. In other words, chess pie is sort of perfect for our current situation.
But instead of making a traditional chess pie with a frugal list of ingredients, we are loving this decadent twist on a chess pie married with a fudgy, rich brownie.
The recipe, which is listed in full at Sally’s Baking Addiction, brings together the velvety flavor of a chocolate-forward brownie with the light, homey simplicity of a chess pie, and the result is pure perfection.
You can make your own pie crust, or use a store-bought version. The brownie filling calls for rich cocoa powder (either natural or Dutch-processes), heavy cream, and espresso powder, giving this chocolatey dessert a deep, dark sweetness that will more than satisfy the chocolate lover in your life.
If you want to try another variation of chess pie, check out this Chocolate Chess Pie recipe from Paula Deen. She enhances her pie flavor with an extra heaping dose of vanilla, sugar, and espresso powder to make this Chocolate Chess Pie even sweeter and richer.
Or, try a very Presidential chess pie. The lemon chess pie is rumored to be former President Bill Clinton’s favorite pie, so it’s perfect for celebrating Election Day victories. Check out the recipe here for Lemon Chess Pie on Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen. It’s an excellent choice for lemon lovers!