15 March 2010

4.1415927 or Pi Day Plus One

So we shared some of The Pie with the girls for dessert tonight (they were at their dad's last week), and a) they pronounced it The Best Pie Ever (can't really argue with that as it's always been the favorite of all the pies my mom makes, and b) they wanted to know why it's called "Chess Pie" (the chocolate part was self-apparent).

Turns out no one really knows why it's called Chess Pie. There are theories, including the possibility that it's a corruption of Cheese Pie, and that in the South, whence comest this culinary delight, pies used to be stored in a piece of furniture called a "pie safe":

But my favorite theory (which, as a native Southern speaker, makes total sense) is that the name derived from saying it was "just pie" ---> "jes' pie" in the vernacular, and that became chess pie.

Anyway, I also found (whilst searching for the why) this old recipe from Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery

To make very good chee[secakes without] cheese curd
Take a quart of cream, & when it boyles take 14 eggs; If they be very yallow take out 2 or 3 of the youlks; put them into [the] cream when it boyles & keep it with continuall stirring till it be thick like curd. [Then] put into it sugar & currans, of each halfe a pound; ye currans must first be plumpt in faire water; then take a pound of butter & put into the curd a quarter of [that] butter; [then] take a quart of fine flowre, & put [the] resto of [the] butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonsfulls of faire water, make [the] paste of it & when it is well mingled beat it on a table & soe roule it out.. Then put [the] curd into [the] paste, first putting therein 2 nutmeggs slyced, a little salt, & a little rosewater; [the] eggs must be well beaten before you put them in; & for [your] paste you may make them up into what fashion you please..."

Pretty cool ,eh?


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You're pie mad, mad I tell you!

Brave Sir Robin said...

I for one, am a believer in the "just" theory.

(And I am a huge fan of lemon chess pie.)