Recipe for Chess Pie like State Fountain at Mississippi State University. Not exactly a copycat, but it’s pretty darn close!
This recipe will do in a pinch when I am months away from a trip back to Starkville, lovingly called Stark Vegas by the locals.
StarkVegas was hurled at them as an insult by their SEC rivals because of the true small-town atmosphere.
You have to be an SEC fan to understand the nature of the rivalry to get it.
You would also understand the venom other SEC schools have for Alabama! Hahahaha!
With a family full of State grads, we are true SEC fans. Smashmouth Baby!
Chess Pie is about as Southern and sweet as a pie can get. It has even been said that chess pie gets its name from the way Southerners say “Just Pie”, it sounds more like jess pie.
I had never heard of chess pie until I walked into State Fountain Bakery at Mississippi State University.
This is MSU’s hidden secret. It does not have its own website, there is no online menu, and parking is abysmal at best.
Instead, you learn about this place from students, faculty, or the locals.
Chess pie is so sweet and rich, it isn’t something you want to eat every day.
BUT, when you no longer have access to certain foods, you crave them.
Funny how that happens right?
It seems I am not the only alumn with the same problem. And clearly, it has been an issue since at least 1999 when the Office of Agricultural Communications published their Spring 1999 “MAFES Research Results” contained the recipe on Page 31.
This old-fashioned recipe has only been changed slightly with the addition of cornmeal, increased baking time, and baking one single pie in a deep dish crust rather than two standard pie crusts.
I also use butter instead of margarine, like really? Margarine in a Southern recipe is blasphemous!
I added cornmeal because I vaguely remember it being in the original from my time on campus, which was after 1999. It can be made without cornmeal.
Maybe it was an addition or maybe it’s bad memory.
A frozen deep-dish pie crust from the local mega-mart is perfectly fine.
I have never successfully made a homemade crust in my life.
If you have read any of my other posts you will know that pie crust is the bane of my existence.
The baking time for a single pie is going to range from 40 to 50 minutes, and it is going to need to be loosely covered with nonstick aluminum foil after 25 minutes or so to prevent over-browning of the crust.
This one needs to be watched closely and removed from the oven as soon as the pie has a slight jiggle when shaken gently.
Overcooking this pie may result in the filling pulling away from the crust when it cools.
You may find that the filling finds its way to the underside of the crust. I am not sure how that happens, but it has happened every single time I have made this pie.
Vinegar or lemon juice can also be added, You’ll have something closer to a vinegar pie.
Folks that have never had a chess pie might find it kind of “eggy.” And it can be, after all, there are 4 eggs in it.
If you read the comments and see that someone thinks we left out the buttermilk, we did not.
This is not a buttermilk pie nor is it a buttermilk chess pie. This is a Mississippi State University-inspired chess pie!
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MSU Chess Pie
- Cream butter and 1 cup of sugar together, leaving a few small pieces of butter about the size of a grain of cooked rice.
- Add eggs and an additional 3/4 cup of sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, remaining sugar and milk until no lumps remain.
- Add milk mixture, cornmeal, if using, and vanilla to the filling and mix until combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- The mixture will thicken as the liquid is absorbed into the flour and cornmeal.
- After filling has been allowed to set, preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
- Place the pie crust in a pie pan and place the pie pan onto a cookie sheet.
- Stir the filling until all of the separated liquid at the bottom of the bowl has been reincorporated.
- Pour filling into pie crust, being careful not to overfill. There may be some extra filling.
- Place pie into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Loosely place aluminum foil over the entire pie and continue baking for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the pie is set. Pie will only jiggle slightly when it has set.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
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