What’s that saying? You can take the girl out of Kentucky, but you can’t take the Kentucky out of the girl? Well, today’s recipe is case in point. This brown butter bourbon chess pie is all of my favorite flavors. Sweet and salty, with subtle caramel and nutty undertones, this Southern pie is RICH and seriously delicious. If you’re looking for the perfect fall-flavored pie, you’re in luck! Let’s dive in.
So what is a chess pie? Similar to a custard pie, chess pies bake up with eggs, sugar, cornmeal, milk, and vinegar. Sounds weird? Yeah, I kinda agree. But somehow, it totally works. Some add lemon, others add cocoa powder, and some just choose a simple buttermilk filling; all are delicious, if you ask me.
Chess pies are wildly popular here in the South and usually find a home in old timey recipe boxes and cookbooks. Usually made with a buttery pastry pie crust, chess pies have gooey centers that are somewhat reminiscent of gooey butter cake bars, and today’s pie is no exception. If you’re salivating, let me tell you about this bourbon situation.
Brown Butter Bourbon Chess Pie
Brown butter is king on this blog. If you’re unfamiliar with how to brown butter, please check out my in-depth tutorial here! It’s the perfect underlying flavor for this pie’s other components which include bourbon and brown sugar. For the bourbon, I like to use a high quality spirit that I enjoy sipping on, because the flavor really comes out. Rule number one: Bottom barrel whiskeys need not apply here.
How to Make Bourbon Chess Pie
To make this bourbon chess pie, we start with a perfect pie crust. I opt for my all-time favorite recipe which you can find here. Once par-baked, the filling ingredients come together: brown butter, sugar, cornmeal, milk, eggs, and bourbon. The mixtures stirs together until smooth and then is poured into the crust. The pie bakes for about 45 minutes or until the center of the pie barely wiggles. Allow the whole thing to cool completely prior to serving.
I’d recommend serving this pie with a cup of coffee or at least a glass of water- it is RICH. Like most Southern desserts, this bourbon chess pie will definitely satisfy a hungry sweet tooth. If you get a chance to make it, let me know what you think! In the meantime, happy Thursday and happy baking!
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Brown Butter Bourbon Chess Pie
This brown butter bourbon chess pie is a gooey, sweet and salty pie with warm hints of whiskey.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 9 Servings
- Category: Dessert
For the crust:
- 1–3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 5 tablespoons (approximately) ice water
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
For the pie:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons quality bourbon
- 1 white tablespoon vinegar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
To prepare the crust:
- Whiz the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine (Note: you can also do this by hand with a pastry cutter!) Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until evenly dispersed in pea-sized clumps. Begin adding ice water 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form. Remove dough from food processor, form it into a flat round disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour prior to use.
- When you’re ready to bake the pie, roll the dough out on a well-floured surface into a 1/8-1/4” circle about an inch larger than your pie plate on all sides. Roll the dough loosely back onto the rolling pin and lift it into the pie dish. Gently fit the dough into the pie plate and trim off any excess dough leaving a 1” border around the edge of the dish. Fold the lip of the dough under so that it extends just over the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edges as you prefer. Prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork and place the whole pan into the freezer to chill briefly, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- When the oven is preheated, remove the pie plate from the freezer and line the insides of it with a piece of parchment paper. Use either pie weights or dry beans/rice to weigh down the dough and bake for about 20 minutes. Low the oven temp to 350 degrees and set the pie aside to cool while you prepare your filling.
To prepare the filling:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, begin browning the butter. Slowly melt the butter, stirring regularly. The butter will begin to fizz and foam- stir constantly and do not let the butter burn. You’ll notice amber flecks showing up on the bottom of your pan- keep stirring until you notice a nutty aroma and the butter mixture is mostly golden. Remove from heat to a separate bowl immediately, being sure to scrape any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, stir to combine the sugar, brown sugar, cornmeal flour, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, bourbon, and vinegar, whisking to combine. Stir in the eggs thoroughly and finally add in the butter. Pour the mixture into your par-baked pie shell. Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the edges are well set and the innermost circle of pie is still just a bit jiggly. Allow to cool completely prior to slicing. Serve slices with a sprinkle of flaked fleur de sel.