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.
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?
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!
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.
Happy pie eating, friends. Hope this baby graces your Thanksgiving table!
powdered sugar and whipped cream for serving (optional)
Prepare one half recipe of the pie crust according to directions. Form into a disk and place in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a standard sized pie pan with butter. Set aside.
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.
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!
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.
In a large bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well combined, then add in cornmeal.
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.
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!