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August 23, 2011 / Kate

Cranberry & Orange Chess Pie

Y2, Week Thirteen: The Mashup of North & South Killed My Camera Pie

Did you know that Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state in the US? Did you know that Chess Pie is a Southern tradition that’s hard to find elsewhere? Did you know that combining some of the best foodstuffs of the North and the South in a single pie creates a field of awesomeness so intense that it can destroy a camera battery? I sure didn’t.

Apparently, trying to photograph an unfinished Chess Pie is akin to trying to take a picture of the sun or a non-Twilight vampire. It was all too much for the ultracompact — maybe I should have wrapped it in protective foil or something. Anyway, this is all to explain why I don’t have any instructional “in progress” pics this week. I’m working on a hand-drawn diagram (way to go Art major!), but until I finish it you’ll have to use your imagination. I also want to thank my good friend Kim for taking some great pics of the finished pie! His camera is much nicer than mine and comes with the protective foil already built in.


Basic Pie Pastry

1 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup very cold water, approx

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor or with a pastry blender. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds. Sprinkle water slowly over the top of the flour mixture while pulsing mixer. Use only enough water to make the dough stick together when a small amount is squeezed in your hand; be careful not to over mix. Dough will be slightly crumbly. Gently shape dough into disc and wrap tightly in plastic, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to warm slightly (30 min); make sure no to place dough near oven or anything hot. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into 13-inch circle and transfer to 9-inch pie pan, preferably glass. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim edges of dough to make 1/2-inch overhang (best done with kitchen scissors). Tuck overhanging dough under so that folded edge is flush with rim of pan and edge stand up over the top of the pan. Flute the edges with your fingers. Prick well with fork around bottom and sides. Chill shell until firm, about 1 hour or overnight (cover in plastic wrap if chilling overnight).


Adapted from “Celebrating Inn Style, Recipe: Cranberry Orange Chess Pie”

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup half-n-half
1 tsp cider vinegar
Grated zest of a medium/large orange
1/8 tsp orange extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, and salt. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, then half-n-half, then vinegar, then zest and orange extract, stirring well after each ingredient. Finally, stir in cranberries, and pour into prepared crust.

Cover crust edges with foil or pie shell protector to keep it from burning, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until filling is firm. Set aside to cool, and serve at room temperature.


One Comment

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  1. Michael / Aug 24 2011 10:24 am

    I wonder how this would taste without the orange ingredients? I’m a longtime supporter of keeping orange and cranberry flavors apart…mostly because I reallllly like cranberries, but don’t like how they taste when they get all oranged up.

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