This recipe was originally published as part of a menu in Tasting Table National

TT Test Kitchen Tip: The addition of rendered leaf lard creates an astonishingly flaky crust.. If you can't find it at your local fine-foods store order it online at


Chess Pie

Yield: One 9-inch pie

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes



2¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

5 tablespoons cold rendered leaf lard, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons ice water



4 eggs

1¼ cup granulated sugar

2½ tablespoons all purpose flour, divided

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1½ cup buttermilk

1½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Make the crust: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.

2. Add the butter and lard. Using a pastry blender or two knives, work the butter and lard into the flour mixture until pea-size lumps form.

3. In another bowl, mix the water and vinegar. Sprinkle the water mixture over the flour mixture and gently fold the mixture together until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to at 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough so it's 1/8 inch thick. Place the dough gently in an 9-inch pie plate and press into the plate's sides. Crimp as desired. Place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator. Place the pie plate in the oven and bake until the crust is lightly golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

6. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour and melted butter and mix well. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla extract and lemon juice.

7. Pour the batter into the cooled pie shell and sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of flour on top. Place the pie in the oven. Bake until the custard is almost completely set and golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.


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