My mother, Val is the best pie maker I know. Hands down, no argument. The best part of all? The crust. That crispy, flaky crust. She makes pies year round: strawberry rhubarb, peach, blueberry with whipped cream on top. It all culminates in an extravagant showcase on Thanksgiving of multiple pies. We can’t wait for it. We drool over the sight of them upon arrival on that 4th Thursday. The turkey is always moist and delicious but those pies are to die for.
Throughout the years, my sister suffered through the Thanksgiving meal. Never realizing until recently that she cannot tolerate so many of the ingredients on the table. Most of all: gluten.
Well there goes the pie eating. That glorious moment when you feel you may burst and you need to lie on the couch and secretly unbutton your pants.
Obtainable. Obtainable and overwhelming. That pretty much describes this summer. We can obtain great memories this year by creating a fun summer in spite of all of the social distancing. It just takes a lot of inspired thought to reconsider what we think it should look like. To open our minds to something different. To rethink and redo all the plans, goals and ideas I had for this summer is so sad, it’s incredibly overwhelming at times. Especially when the zucchini I planted has failed to produce and the rabbits gnawed the tops off all the green bean plants and the slugs….aaagh! the slugs! It just adds to the sadness and the sense of failure. Damn it. The only way to soothe this achy heart is with a full stomach.
A crispy crust with some cheese and herbs is all I really want. But then all there are a lot of fresh vegetables that are sitting on my kitchen table to consider using up like the massive summer squash my neighbor foisted on me and perhaps some roasted peppers that have been hanging out in the refrigerator.
This is a forgiving recipe so that you can use whatever you have on hand and it will still come out tasting delicious and satisfying for dinner especially when paired with your favorite chilled rose. (Just a suggestion!) Easily swap out the flour in the crust for King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour to make it gluten free.
Although a Chess Pie is not much to look at, it is a truly decadent recipe using only humble ingredients from the pantry. A diamond in the rough, so to speak. It makes me feel like a queen when I indulge in a slice of this gooey, fudge bomb of a pie. It doesn’t matter that I am trapped in the house with my teenagers who make me want to pull every hair out of my head. This pie is like Calgon, it takes me away from all of their bickering, demanding of snacks, t.v. time, sulking and pouting. I take a bite and savor a brief moment of solitude, locked in my office before they come knocking on the door, yelling , “Mo-om! Where are you???”
The first time I made this pie, I followed the original instructions which included the pith and the skin of the oranges and the lemon. And it was oh, so bitter. But in spite of the fact that I do not like bitter orange flavors like marmalade and such, I persisted and ate all of the pie, a small slice per day, until it was gone. Not because I am stubborn, prideful and refuse to let my hard work go to waste (all these points are true), but because of the real reason: the crust was exquisite and shame on anyone who wastes a crisp, flaky homemade pie crust. Shame on them. Continue reading →