Brown Butter Chess Pie
I watched the movie Steel Magnolias the other day.
The full picture (if you’re curious) was me, my cat Tron, a rousing Thursday night, a shamefully large bowl of cheese grits and peas, and a paper towel I later used as a cry-tissue, sitting on my bed watching the movie Steel Magnolias.
I was thinking I’d REALLY like there to be a Steel Magnolias cookbook. Those ladies have got to have some pretty amazing deviled egg secrets, an unbelievable roux up their sleeves, and likely a recipe for chess pie that will knock all of our socks right off.
I’d also like there to be a Father of the Bride Cookbook, a Home Alone 2 Cookbook, and a Stepbrothers snack guide. What I’m saying is… I’ve got a lot of cookbooks to write in my future.
First things first, a Steel Magnolias, Louisiana-inspired, butter-present Brown Butter Chess Pie. Shelby. Too soon.
This post is in collaboration with Land O’Lakes because their butter is delicious!
I will never not nag you about making pie crust from scratch. It’s because I know you can do it, I know you’re worth it, and I believe in you, and it’s so satisfying and 1000% more delicious and prideful… especially where good butter is involved.
Cold butter is cubed and combined with flour, salt, and just a big of sugar. This extra creamy, extra fatty, European Style butter will make for the most delicious and flakey crust. I used salted butter to really add balance to the sweet buttermilk filling.
The butter is broken down to the size of small peas and oat flakes. We want small, but present bits to create the most flakey pie crust.
Buttermilk is our binder. It’s thick and tangy and works as a tenderizer for our crust.
Brought together with a free gentle kneads and a push or two into a small disk.
The dough must must must rest in the refrigerator to chill the butter and distribute the moisture evenly before rolling.
Let’s make our filling!
Butter to start. Salted butter is melted until fragrant, nutty and browned. Here’s how to brown butter like a pro.
The fat solids in the butter are browned to a nutty aroma, really deepening the flavor of the butter in our pie. Irresistible!
Lemon zest is rubbed in the granulated sugar to create light citrus notes, and flour, and cornmeal are added to help thicken the pie as it bakes.
Browned butter meets, buttermilk, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Humble flavors, but well-balanced and divine!
Browned buttery bits, full of flavor and love, all up in our pie!
Unbaked pie crust meets sweet and buttery pie filling. You’re welcome to par bake the pie crust if you’d like a more crisp bottom pie crust. I like a softer bottom crust on this pie. It’s not a fussy pie, let’s not make it fussy.
Baked until golden and buttery all over!
Although we want to dive into the pie hot from the oven, this pie needs some time for reflection and cooling. I let the pie sit until room temperature then placed in the refrigerator overnight. We want the butter and buttermilk custard to settle and chill.
Sliced just so, topped with sweet cream and strawberries, this pie is generous in its goodness. Velvety and smooth from the butter, sweet and creamy. It’s heartwarming. Best served with cheese grits and Steel Magnolias.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold salted Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoon cold buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup salted Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter, melted until browned and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
- On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
- To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, rub together granulated sugar and lemon zest until sugar is fragrant. Whisk in the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, lemon, browned butter, and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Place on a baking sheet and carefully place in the oven.
- Allow pie to bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the pie is browned and puffed and not jiggling in a wave.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before allowing to rest in the refrigerator. Pie is best served chilled.
- Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and sliced strawberries.