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Sweets with Subtext

15 October 2011

Growing up in Western Kentucky I loved my grandmother's chess pie and chess squares. We had regular chess a lot and on special occasions we had chocolate chess, which was my absolute favorite. I always thought it was called chess pie because it had almost looked like a marble chess board, but I actually learned later that it's called chess pie because one time a lady had sudden company so she threw together what she had into a pie shell. It was so good that when her visitors asked her what kind of pie it was she replied, "It's just pie." With her sweet Kentucky accent this sounded like "chess pie" and caught on.

As I mentioned, the best desserts in Kentucky are at my grandmother's house, but the second best are at Patti's Restaurant in Grand Rapids, KY. Patti's has amazing food but is also quite the experience. I spent many happy days here when my Dallas grandparents were in town, eating boatsinker pie and feeding their homemade potato chips to their pet pig outside.

Today is my last day at my current office and I wanted to whip up something special for all of my good friends here, so I thought a chocolate chess pie was fitting for the occasion. I got this recipe from Patti's cookbook (Miss Patti was always hesitant to share her recipes but finally sat down before she passed away. If you can't make it to Kentucky this is the next best thing!). I'm sharing the chocolate chess pie recipe below, but for her strawberry butter, flowerpot rolls and boatsinker and pineapple sour cream pies you'll want a copy of the cookbook for your own kitchen.

Patti's 1880's Settlement Chocolate Chess Pie

2 1/4 cups sugar
6 heaping tablespoons cocoa
Pinch of salt 
3 eggs, beaten 
3/4 stick of melted margarine
1 12oz can of evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie crust (I use the Whole Foods Gluten Free crust - soo good and flaky!)

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and salt. Add remaining ingredients and pour into the unbaked pie crust. (This is when I take a little of the leftover egg and glaze the crust so it's nice and caramel colored.) Bake 30-40 minutes in a 325F oven. 

When I got to work with my pie a fellow reader of The Help called me out on my choice of chocolate. I promise you there is no "terrible awful" in my chocolate chess. But thinking of Minny telling Miss Hilly off for good has had us laughing all day!


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