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Buttermilk Chess Pie with Meyer Lemon

In Sean Brock’s version of this classic Southern dessert, tangy buttermilk and Meyer lemon mellow the sweetness of the pie. Chef Brock uses Anson Mills antebellum fine yellow cornmeal, but any finely ground cornmeal will work. You can bake the pie up to 6 hours in advance and keep it at room temperature, or let the pie cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/3 cups whole buttermilk
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (see related recipe at left)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornmeal and butter until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Using the tip of a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and place it, cut side up, on the cutting board. Using the knife, scrape each cut side to release the seeds and add them to the bowl along with the buttermilk, lemon zest and salt. Whisk until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.

Transfer the pie to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Do not overbake. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours, before serving. Serves 8.

Recipe by Sean Brock, Chef, McCrady’s Restaurant and Husk.