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Pfeffernüsse Chess Pie

Makes two pies. Takes approximately 3.5 hours, including rest time.


3 1/3 c granulated sugar, divided

3/4 c salted butter, softened

6 large eggs

3/4 c buttermilk

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1.5 Tbsp cormeal

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 deep dish pie crust unbaked

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp anise seed

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

zest of 1 orange

1 Tbsp bourbon or whiskey of choice

Pie Crust

2.5 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

3/4 c vegetable shortening, chilled

1/2 c ice water

Filling Instructions

  1. Cream butter and 1.5 c of sugar together, leaving a few small pieces of butter about the size of a grain of cooked rice.
  2. Add eggs and an additional 1 c. of sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, remaining sugar and milk until no lumps remain.
  4. Add milk mixture, cornmeal, vanilla, and whiskey to the filling and mix until combined.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the regridgerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. The mixture will thicken as the liquid is absorbed into the flour and cornmeal.

Pie Crust Instructions

  1. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add ice cubes to a measuring cup and fill with 1/2 cup cold water. Set aside.
  2. Grate frozen butter into the bowl, or cut it into small pieces. Add chilled shortening and use a pastry blender or fork to cut the fats into the flour untill well combined and resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add ice water a spoonful at a time, mixing until the dough begins to come together. Be careful not to over mix, and you may not need all of the water.
  4. Gently mold the dough into a ball, then divide it into 2 equal pieces. Press each piece gently with your hands into a flat disk.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate the dough for 2 hours, or freeze for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375*.
  7. Dampen a large towl or cloth and lay it flat on your countertop. Place a large piece of parchment paper over it. Lightly flour both sides of the pie dough disc and set it on the parchment paper.
  8. Use a rolling pin to gently press the pie dough out into a large circle. always start at the center of the crust, and work outwards. You want your dough to be thin, and about 1/2 inch larger than the diameter of your pie dish.
  9. Gently turn the dough into your pie dish and remove the parchment paper. Settle it smoothly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim and crimp the edges of the crust.
  10. Place a large piece of parchment paper into the bottom of unbaked crust. Pour some dry beans, rice or pie weights on top and smooth into an even layer.
  11. Bake at 375* F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and lift the parchment paper and weights out of the crust. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, then return the pie to the oven to bake until lightly golden, about 10-15 more minutes.

Make it a Pie

  1. After filling has been allowed to set, preheat/adjust oven to 350* F.
  2. Place the pie crust in a pie pan and place the pie pan onto a cookie sheet.
  3. Stir the filling until all of the separated liquid at the bottom of the bowl has been reincorporated.
  4. Pour filling into the unbaked pie crust, being careful not to overfill. There may be some extra filling.
  5. Place pie into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Loosely place aluminum foil over the entire pie and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes or until pie is set. Pie will only jiggle slightly when it has set.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar after cooling as an optional garnish before serving.