Though the northeast will forever be considered my home, I spent my high school years in the south, basically learning how to adjust. A Jersey girl through and through, I just tried to blend anyway I could. I was too busy sneaking out to dance clubs in downtown Atlanta and cussing up a storm to care too much about food.
Sure, I got my fill of buttery grits and biscuits topped with white sausage gravy. I also ate enough fried chicken and pecan pies to make me an honorary southerner, I’m sure of that. For a teen who didn’t put any effort into it, I did pretty well sampling bits and pieces of the southern food spectrum. But I never had chess pie.
I don’t know if it was just too sweet or if the texture turned off my elementary tastes, but a new friend forced me to eat a slice at a lunch-only cafeteria (called, a meat-and-three) in Nashville a few months ago. When she heard I had never had the stuff, she didn’t even ask. She just slid a piece between us and, heh-heh-helloooo, I am now a chess pie convert.
My husband is in Nashville a lot. Life and Paris and gift boxes (all lovely diversions!) make it so I often miss out on repeat visits and repeat slices of this heavenly pie. Thanks to March’s Food and Wine, I now have an easy to whip up alternative. Sugarland’s lead singer Jennifer Nettles shared her great-grandmother’s riff on the traditional southern treat. I know it’s not true chess pie but it’s homemade and hits the spot. And like I always say, there’s no pie I like better than homemade pie.
There’s a good reason this recipe’s earned the name “Impossible Pie,” and you’ll discover it if you make it. I say it’s just impossibly good, and a totally worthy of… say… a Mother’s day brunch.
While you’re down here, check out the Merry Gourmet’s real chess pie recipe here. I just heart her. And her chess pie.
From Food and Wine, March 2011
From Food and Wine, March 2011
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 ° and butter two 9-inch glass pie plates. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar. Add the eggs and beat until smooth.
- Stir in the flour, coconut and milk. Divide the mixture between the pie plates and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour, until the pies are firm to the touch and golden. Transfer the pies to a rack and cool completely before serving.
- The pies can be refrigerated overnight. Return them to room temperature before serving.
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.