Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cranberry Chess Pie

I am BEYOND happy to finally be sharing this recipe with you guys.  I first made this last year, the day before Thanksgiving.  I also decided I would attempt my first homemade pie crust.  What turned out was nothing short of ugly, due to what can only be described as “the incredible shrinking pie crust”.  Miraculously I somehow made it work, and completed the pie.  The final product was so incredibly delicious, I knew I’d make it again this year to share on the blog with all of you.  As it turned out, I was asked to guest blog on a local blog I love, and my guest post would run the Thursday before Thanksgiving.  What a great opportunity to share this incredible pie with even more people!  UPDATE 2014: I originally shared the recipe on Styleblueprint‘s site, but I have since decided to publish the full recipe here as well. I’ve loved this pie since 2010, so I want it in my own domain. :)

I knew from my first bite of that pie last year I absolutely HAD to make it again in 2011 so I could blog about it. If you are from the South, I would assume you are familiar with chess pie, but I’ll give you a little more info on this southern staple, just in case. Like any food item, the recipe may vary region to region, so I apologize if the recipe I describe is different from the one you know. The chess pie I grew up enjoying was a rich, custardy dessert, with the main ingredients being butter, sugar, and eggs. When I think of chess pie I always think of the crispy crust along the top, and the rich, sweet filling in the middle. When we bought our first house in October of 2010, as a closing gift, our realtor gave us a copy of The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book. When flipping through it, this recipe stood out as one I needed to make ASAP! I love this twist on a longtime favorite.

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The aroma of this pie baking adds the most amazing smell to your kitchen. It will definitely put you in the holiday mood. Way better than anything you can buy at Yankee Candle. And bonus, you get to actually eat this! The cranberries add the perfect tartness to compliment and balance the sweetness from the custard. And just like my grandmother’s chess pie, you still get the crispy, crackly crust. The cranberries will rise up to the top during baking, so when you cut into it you get a bright burst of pink & red atop a smooth, yellow filling. It’s perfect alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

On this second go round of making the pie, I didn’t want to take chances with another ugly homemade crust.  I purchased store-bought refrigerated crusts, the “unroll and fill” kind.  You can make your own crust if you have more skill than I, or use whatever store brand you are comfortable with.

We took this pie to a gathering at our neighbor’s house, and everyone there really loved it and asked for the recipe. I told them they’d have to wait till it was up on StyleBlueprint! I have a feeling this pie will become a yearly tradition for me, because I really do love it that much. It would easily work for any Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering.

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Cranberry Chess Pie

Yield: 1 pie

Ingredients:

1 rolled-out basic pie dough (recipe below)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries,coarsely chopped

Pie Crust:
1 1/4 c. flour
1 Tb. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3 Tb. ice cold water (may need a bit more if not coming together)

Directions:

Roll pie dough out and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp edges and refrigerate or freeze until firm. About 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Partially bake the pie shell. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Leave oven on.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the flour, then the buttermilk, vinegar, and orange zest, mixing well. Stir in the cranberries. Scrape the mixture into the partially baked pie shell.

Bake the pie until the top is lightly golden brown and the filling is firm, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut pie into wedges and serve at room temperature.

Pie Crust:
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with butter no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

Pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin then roll out. Re-flour as needed and turn dough to keep from sticking.

Makes 1 crust.

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11 Responses to “Cranberry Chess Pie”

  1. 1
    Jessica — November 16, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

    Mmm this looks soooo good! I just picked up a bunch of fresh cranberries and I think I am going to try this out on the hubs office potluck!

  2. 2
    Julie @ Table for Two — November 17, 2011 @ 8:18 am

    Nom nom, this looks good. I love tart & sweet desserts!

  3. 3
    JulieD — November 17, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Erin, wow, I’m not really into cranberry desserts but you might be changing my mind! This looks amazing!

  4. 4
    Kacey — November 17, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Bring this to Thanksgiving. Please and thank you.

    • Erin replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

      You don’t think I’d be stepping on Grandma’s toes?! Her desserts are always delicious! But I love this pie, so maybe I’ll make it to bring!

  5. 5
    Shannon — November 17, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    I’m not really that crazy about cranberries, but this looks awesome! Very Christmasy.

  6. 6
    Kelsey — November 18, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

    I love anything and everything cranberry. This looks insanely delicious and would be a gorgeous addition to any holiday table. WOW!

  7. 7
    Kelly — November 23, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    I’m always in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving (my mom hates making dessert, and it’s the one thing I’m good at). So glad you posted this, because I was trying to figure out what to do this year! Can’t wait to make it and try it! My first chess pie! Erins Food Files style!

  8. 8
    Jennifer @therebelchick — November 28, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    This looks delicious!

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  10. 9
    Mary — December 11, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    My husband does not like super sweet things…He LOVED this pie. Plus, it is easy.
    Thank you for a new addition to my recipes!

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