Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie

This is not your grandmother’s chess pie. Oh no, my friends. You might as well call this your grandkids’ chess pie, because this right here is destined to be a family heirloom recipe that you pass on for generations. It’s got a flakey, buttery pie crust. A rich, custard filling. And is flavored with real maple syrup and golden brown butter.

It’s everything I ever want in a pie, and more.

Truth be told, I’m really not a pie person. Or rather, I’m not a fruit pie person. I want my pies rich and sweet. So decadent that you have to start off with just a sliver. But also so good that you go back for two more slivers. But with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I chose to get my pie on, and thus here we are.

Honestly this maple chess pie might be my favorite pie recipe I’ve ever made. Which….. yep, no, I’m going to say it: it is! It’s just so perfect. It’s sweet, but not too sweet (most chess pies use 2 cups of sugar, I used 1 1/2). And the brown butter imparts such a nice depth of flavor alongside the maple.

slice of Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie on glass plate

What is chess pie? 

Chess pie is a classic Southern dessert that features a flaky pie crust and a rich filling made of eggs, sugar, and butter. Chess pies can be flavored with chocolate or fruit juices, or can be made simply with vanilla extract as the main flavoring agent. If you’ve ever had Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie from Milk Bar in NYC, this maple chess pies is very similar to that. The flavor of this pie is also reminiscent of the gooey part of a pecan pie, except chess pie filling is more set and much creamier. 

Am I making sense here? 

Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie with spatula

Tips for making chess pie

Use pure maple syrup — You do NOT want to use fake maple syrup for this chess pie recipe. The bottles of “pancake syrup” at the store are often just flavored corn syrup, which will throw off the flavor and texture of this Southern pie.   

Add maple extract, if desired — If you’re a true maple fanatic like me, I would suggest also adding in 1 teaspoon of maple extract. It really helps to deepen that flavor.

Let the pie cool completely before serving — Believe me, you don’t want to take a bite of fresh-from-the-oven chess pie. That’s a guaranteed way to burn the roof of your mouth! Not to mention this maple chess pie needs time to set fully before you can slice it. 

Serve simply with powdered sugar or whipped cream — This chess pie is a knockout dessert on its own, so don’t fret about dressing it up with scoops of ice cream or anything like that. I dusted mine with a little powdered sugar and dolloped some homemade whipped cream on the plate as well. I’ve popped my go-to whipped cream recipe below in case you’re curious how I make it! 

slices of Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie

How to make whipped cream

Whipped cream is totally optional when serving this maple pie, but it adds a little something extra to the presentation. My favorite recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Just whip to soft peaks and serve! Homemade whipped cream should be stored in a sealed container in the fridge. 

Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie

Happy pie eating, friends. Hope this baby graces your Thanksgiving table!

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Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie

This is not your grandmother's chess pie. A luxurious combination of brown butter, maple, and custard make this Maple Chess Pie one for the books.

This is not your grandmother’s chess pie. A luxurious combination of brown butter, maple, and custard make this Maple Chess Pie one for the books.

  • Author: Sarah | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie

Ingredients

for the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water

for the filling

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • powdered sugar and whipped cream for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Add in butter and pulse mixture until it resembles wet sand. 
  2. Pour in ice water, starting with 3 tablespoons, and pulse again. Pulse until the dough comes together, forming a ball along the side of the food processor. If dough doesn’t come together, add in additional tablespoon of ice water.
  3. Remove dough from food processor and place on a floured surface. Roll dough into a ball, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, but up to 2 days. 
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a standard sized pie pan with butter. Set aside.
  5. Brown your butter by placing it into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the milk solids from the butter separate and become a golden brown color. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Remove pie dough disk from the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Carefully place dough into pie pan, pushing into the pan. Fold the edge of the dough over on itself, and use your fingers to create a crimped edge. Or, if you don’t know how to do this, just leave it be. It will look great regardless!
  7. Prepare your crust to be blind baked by placing parchment paper over the dough, then adding uncooked rice into the center. Blind bake for 10 minutes while you make your filling.
  8. In a large bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well combined, then add in cornmeal. 
  9. Pour filling into partially baked crust, then lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the center of the pie is set and is a light golden brown color.
  10. Allow pie to cool completely before topping with a dust of powdered sugar and serving. I suggest letting it cool on a cooling rack for 1 hour, then in the fridge for 2 hours. I also love pairing my chess pie with whipped cream, as these photos shows!

More pie recipes from Broma Bakery: 

Deep Dish Double Chocolate Pecan Skillet Pie

Triple Chocolate Fudge Pie

Brownie Pecan Pie

Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Fourth of July Blueberry Pie

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie

slice of Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie with whipped cream

7 comments

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Seriously the most gorgeous images ever!! This pie looks so decadent!

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Made this for Christmas dinner and it was a hit! I went with the teaspoon of maple extract you recommended and it was a great add. Thanks for the recipe! It’s delicious!

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Why the corn meal?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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The corn meal helps to deepen the flavors and also works as a stabilizer in chess pies!

Hope this helps 🙂

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Hey, Sarah! I want to make this pie but I don’t have maple syrup on hand (and am not a big fan of maple anyways), so could I sub brown sugar instead? I’m just worried about how it might affect the consistency of the pie. Thanks!

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Hey Hannah,

It will definitely affect the flavor and consistency of the pie, but if you’re not a maple girl I hear you! You can substitute 1 cup of brown sugar for every 2/3 cup of maple syrup. I would recommend dissolving your sugar into the butter so it doesn’t get grainy. Simply brown the butter per the directions and then add the sugar to dissolve!

Hope this helps 🙂

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Yes, it does!

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