key lime chess pie

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key lime chess pie

well hello again. it sure has been a minute. we got back from south carolina last week, but after being gone for 17 days, i had a lot of home to catch up on.  and honestly, the computer wasn’t really calling to me, but this key lime chess pie definitely was.

a fun twist on a southern staple | key lime chess pie

at the request of my husband, i left my laptop at home. the first part of our trip was to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, so i couldn’t really argue with him. we spent 4 days in charleston eating our weight in fried green tomatoes, ALL the seafood, and pecan pie. if you have the chance, you must have the pecan pie at magnolias, it is without a doubt the best i have ever had. their grits were out of this world too.

after charleston we headed to pawleys island for some fun in the sand. the ocean is definitely my happy place. i forgot my  phone more often than not which was a good thing, and i’m still finding sand in our bags.

we shopped some, stella LOVES to shop, we fished. stella and i even baited out own hooks. and while we didn’t catch any fish, charlie is great at catching crab.

one night on our beach walk we saw a group catch a shark. ian and i would love a beach vacation house, so we looked at quite a few model homes, which i could do all day long. the kids not so much. we even had the chance to tour hopsewee plantation. hopsewee was one of the south’s major rice plantations, built in 1740. the home has only been owned by five families, and is still a private residence.

what does this have to do with chess pie  you may ask. the owners of hopsewee plantation have a small tea room for visitors, and they serve chess pie. i had never tried chess pie, and wasn’t  really sure what it was, but it is most definitely southern.

key lime chess pie

what is chess pie?

chess pie is a southern specialty, simply made with eggs, sugar, milk, butter, cornmeal, and vinegar, or in this case key lime juice. it is very sweet, but incredibly delicious.

the chess pie served at hopsewee plantation is a lemon chess pie, but the amount of key lime pie i ate in south carolina gave me the idea to replace the lemon with fresh key lime juice.

why is it called chess pie?

when a plantation cook was asked what made it so good, she replied..”oh sweetie, it’s jus’ pie.”

of course that’s just one explanations for how chess pie got its name, but it’s my favorite, and now so is this pie.

key lie chess pie

key lime chess pie


  • 1 recipe basic pie crust (this is the recipe i use)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (i use whole milk)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten


  • preheat oven to 350
  • roll chilled pie dough, and fit into a 9 inch pie pan
  • chill dough in pan 15 - 30 minutes
  • prick the bottom of the crust with a fork several time, and scallop the edges of the dough
  • line crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights
  • chill crust another 15-30 minutes (i chose to do 30 because it is HOT here, and my kitchen is the warmest room in the house)
  • bake crust 10 minutes, remove the parchment and weights and bake another 8 minutes
  • cool crust before filling to prevent it from getting soggy
  • to make the filling whisk together the butter and milk
  • in another bowl whisk together the sugar and cornmeal
  • add the butter and milk to the sugar and cornmeal, and then whisk in the lime juice and eggs
  • pour into cooled crust, and bake 30-35 minutes until the center is set
  • cool completely before serving
adapted from Hopsewee Cooking

how to make chess pie

you know how i feel about crust, but this is one of the easiest recipes i have worked with, it comes together in the food processor, and with the exception of my lack of fluting skills baked up perfectly.

if you want to keep your crust from getting soggy, chill it for 15 minutes before pouring in the filling.

many recipes call for flour, but the recipe from hopsewee plantation used cornmeal, so that is what i went with.

make sure your ingredients are cold, even the lime juice. i juiced the limes and then kept the strained juice in the fridge while i made the crust.

and speaking of crust, that should be well chilled as well. the dough should be chilled for 30 minutes before rolling out, and then chilled again after rolling. chill the baked crust for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.

the filling takes almost no time at all to get together. you simply stir together the melted butter, milk, sugar, eggs, cornmeal, and key lime juice. squeezing all those limes was the most time consuming part.

the recipe calls for a 9 inch pie pan, but i had extra pie filling.  i would maybe suggest using a deep pie pan so as not to waste a single drop.

clearly you can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl because since coming home i’ve made creole, shrimp and grits…twice, two key lime pies, and now a key lime chess pie.

key lime chess pie