Go Back

Chess Pie

Inspired by Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series, this classic Southern pie features a gluten free filling that resembles a discount version of creme brulee.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Cooling time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 slices


  • Unbaked pie crust
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg - optional
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal


  • Combine milk and vinegar in a small cup and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar before beating in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the milk mixture before adding the vanilla bean paste and nutmeg.
  • Add cornmeal to the mixture to your pie filling and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the filling into your unbaked pie crust and cover the edges of the crust with foil or a pie shield. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the pie is no longer jiggly and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • To avoid a cracked pie surface, turn off the oven and allow the pie to cool within, for roughly 1 hour.
  • Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator for serving later, or slice and serve immediately. Top pie slices with whipped cream, if so desired.


You are welcome to substitute milk and vinegar mixture for ¼ cup of buttermilk, if you prefer.
Keyword chess pie, dessert, gluten free, pie, sweet