When the words vanilla, cheesecake and pecan are all run together ending in pie I cannot help myself. I cannot resist. I head to the kitchen, sort out the ingredients and begin the fun of mixing and blending while imaging just how good this is going to taste!
When some of our California kids were here this summer the dinner conversation turned to Pizookies. At first when my step-son Bryan said Pizookie I wasn’t sure what I heard him say. I said, “will you spell that for me?” He did one better and Googled it for me. This is a pizza cookie all rolled into one single serving baking dish. He and our grandson Sean went on to poetically describe one of their favorite desserts from BJ’s Restaurant.
The more they talked the more exacted they got. They tossed around words like chocked full of chocolate chips, warm and gooey, topped with quickly melting vanilla ice cream, deep dish cookie, served warm from the oven.
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I was sitting at a table with friends the other night at our Community Bible Study leadership potluck and Christmas party. My friend Mary Ann said, “Jo and Catherine, you both cook a lot, can you tell me how to keep pecan pie from sticking on the bottom?”
Well, I sat up a little straighter knowing this conversation was about to be right up my alley. I glanced over at our friend Jo who said, “you are filling it too full. I have never had that problem and I am careful not to over-fill.” Mary Ann quickly nodded her head and said, “well, that could be my problem since I always want to get every bit of deliciousness out of the bowl.”
Then it was my turn to add a nugget of wisdom to the conversation. I smiled at my tablemates and opened my mouth to speak when to my right my dear sweet, and I must say very-timely, husband appeared having just returned from the dessert table. “Well honey bunch” he began, “your Chess Pie looks great but it stuck on the bottom.”
Truthfully, I have had the “sticky-bottom” on many pies and only recently decided the cure-all is to lightly spray canola oil in the pie pan before laying down the crust. On second thought, that may not always work! 🙂
So, I did what I often do and Googled the answer to this dilemma.
From Emeril Lagasse’s pecan pie recipe a reviewer wrote:
Flour to the bottom of the crust to keep the crust from sticking, this one did not stick at all.
From Buttercream-bakehouse.com, a blog post sponsored by Pam says: Using Pam Cooking Spray helps release dough sticking to your work surface and your hands which is an essential tool for baking a pie. (So take this for what it is worth … being sponsored by Pam!)
From AL.com website “You ease the crust into a buttered pie plate, add your filling, and top it off with another thin layer of crust. (Buttering the pie plate is important especially for a pecan pie. The filling tends to leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult.)”
I also read one post that says if you use a metal pie pan it won’t stick as opposed to using a glass pie plate that always sticks. I actually haven’t tested that.
Here are few other suggestions:
Next time try dipping the bottom of the bottom of the pie plate into hot water for 10-20 seconds. This will remelt any solid butter and release the crust. It has never failed me for any cake or pie.
I have always made sure to have a light dusting of flour remaining on the crust after it is rolled out. I made pies for restaurants & never had one stick to the pan. For savory pies cornmeal can also be used.
So what does all this add up to?
* Don’t over-fill your pie crust
* Butter or spray the pie plate before using
* If you aren’t sure it will not stick, dip the bottom of the plate in hot water before trying to slice it.
Do you have a sure-fire method of keeping the bottom of your pies from sticking to the pie plate? If so — please let me know. I will pass on the information to all of our readers!
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Chess pies are a Southern specialty that has a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, and a small amount of flour. Some recipes add cornmeal and others include vinegar. Flavorings, such as vanilla, lemon juice, or chocolate are also added to vary the basic recipe.
When I asked my southern-born husband if his Granny made Chess Pie he said “definitely not, never heard of it.” At that point this Yankee cook and her chief culinary expert were on the same level playing field. I’ve never heard of it or eaten it until … I came to Tennessee!
When my Floridian, Pennsylvania-born friend, Phyllis, came to visit she immediately exclaimed “where can I get some Chess Pie? It is my favorite!”
I love coming to Tennessee so I can eat Chess Pie! For a week we ate in various restaurants, local cafes, and even at my house. No chess pie for Phyllis.
It was the day before she and my friend Kathy were leaving to continue their fall driving vacation. I woke up at 4 a.m. That isn’t unusual for me. And most generally it means I have something to do. On this particular morning I ran through my mental “to-do” list and was satisfied I did not have any pressing activity calling my name.
WRONG. Chess Pie. As I pulled the covers up tight and rolled over to sleep a few more hours I heard Phyllis saying, “where can I get some Chess Pie, it is my favorite!”
I really should have called this guess pie because guess what? I got up at 4:05 in the morning, fired up the computer, Googled a few recipes and found just the right one. How did I know it was the right one? Because Phyllis had told me that “true” chess pie included cornmeal and vinegar in the list of ingredients.
When the ladies came in from our little guest cabin for breakfast, this pie (and one more) was cooling on the counter. Phyllis squealed with delight! The second pie was delivered to my neighbor later that morning.
The origin of the name, Chess Pie, is uncertain, but there are plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore surrounding the name. My favorite is about the plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great – “Jes’ pie” was her answer. 🙂
The recipe I used came from My Recipes.com and was featured in Southern Living March 2000. I made one change that we all think is a keeper. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. I happen to have Coconut flavored vinegar that came from a specialty olive oil and vinegar shop in Florida. I had never used it and now know that it was made for chess pie! It adds a fantastic light, rich, slightly coconut flavor. Oh my word, you have just got to try this.
This pie is not eggy. It is sweet, rich, custard with a crunchy crust (from the cornmeal.)
With Thanksgiving just around the corner — it’s pie time!
1 Chronicles 29:11-13
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
- 1 9" round pie crust
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or coconut flavored vinegar*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
- Line pastry with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool.
- Stir together sugar and next 7 ingredients until blended. Add eggs, stirring well. Pour into piecrust.
- Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil after 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Serve at room temperature, plain or with whipped cream
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Optional: Coconut Chess Pie: Prepare filling as directed above; stir in 1 cup toasted flaked coconut before pouring into piecrust. Bake as directed above.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living 2000.