Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 65 minutes | Start To Finish: 3 hours
A Process, but Satisfying

Easter is on its way, even  though the snow is trying its best to halt the progress of spring here in VT.  Easter is another favorite holiday of mine that includes baking and decorating and traditions that carry on through the years. Rabbits, chicks, violets, daffodils, tulips, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow eggs. Oh boy.  I still have decorated goose eggs from my childhood that I treasure and a collection of vintage collectibles for the table to highlight the children's Easter baskets. I start collecting items to "assist" the Easter Bunny months ahead of time. 

Easter food is lemon and meringue, hot cross buns, ham, asparagus and so many more delightful flavors including this Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie. 

Chess pie is a traditional southern dish, a very simple pie not a custard but is compared to a cheese-less cheesecake! This lemon version is made with buttermilk and is a simple and delightful end to a Easter brunch or dinner. 

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For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3 to 4 tbs ice water
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup shortening, chilled
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the filling:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

For the Crust:

Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl until combined. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until pea-size pieces, about 3 to 4 minutes Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of the ice water and the lemon juice and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of ice water if the dough is too dry, but don't overwork the dough.) Form the dough into a flat disk. Wrap it and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, fold the excess under itself, and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the pie crust until ready to bake. 

For the Filling:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack at the lowest level. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Whisk the sugar, flours, and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the buttermilk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Add the melted butter and lemon zest and whisk until smooth.  Pour the mixture into the pie plate.  Bake until the filling is just set in the middle and the top is golden brown, about 55 to 65 minutes.  Place the pie on a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature before cutting.