Chess Pie is a very sweet pie. It can be heavy-going after a meal. Some people like it better on its own, with strong coffee to wash down the sweetness.
The filling for it is made with melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, vinegar and eggs. This is poured into an unbaked pie shell, which is then baked until the filling is set.
It was a pie that could be made any time of the year, using staples that would always be in the household.
If raisins are added, some people would call the pie “Osgood Pie” (though others say Osgood Pie is different.) If made with brown sugar swapped in for white sugar, they pie was called a “Brown Sugar Pie.” With nuts (pecans), they were called a Pecan Pie.
a version called Lemon Cheese Pie has a light lemon flavour from lemon juice which replace the vinegar. But, it has no cheese in it.
Chess Pie could sit out for a few days without going bad. You just needed to cover it or put it in a pie chest to keep the flies off.
Chess Pie is a corruption of “cheese pie.” Even though it never had any cheese in it, there was a tradition of making economical cheese cakes or pies without any cheese actually in them. The pie has a similar texture to a cheese pie, sort of in the same way that Lemon Curd doesn’t actually have any cheese in it but is remiscent of curd.
It was popular in the southern states of America.
Swapping lemon juice for vinegar would have become possible as lemons became more affordable.