Lemon Chess Pie from ‘Southern Baked’

Southern Kitchen
Lemon Chess Pie

Serves: 8

Hands On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes


SB Pie Dough

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup water


1 recipe SB Pie Dough (above)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cornmeal

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


To make the pie dough: Cut the butter into small cubes. Combine butter and flour in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour. Add the salt and sugar. Continue to work the butter into the flour until the mixture has a consistency of course-ground cornmeal.

The cubes of butter should now be smaller than the size of a green pea. Add the water, all at once. Continue to work the dough until the dough begins to come together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and press into the shape of a disk.

Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to chill.

To make the pie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out into 12-inch circle. Place into a 9-inch round pie plate and flute.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour and cornmeal slowly, beating until mixture is well-combined. Beat in the zest, juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. The mixture will appear lightly curdled.

Pour into the pie shell. Bake in lower third of oven for 40 to 50 minutes. You will know the pie is done when the edges are set and there is a slight jiggle just in the center of the pie. Remove from oven and let cool before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

About the recipe

Georgia native and the founder of Southern Baked Pie Company, chef Amanda Wilbanks has perfected pies and desserts that exude Southern charm. In her new cookbook, ‘Southern Baked,’ Wilbanks shares family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of those recipes is her lemon chess pie. The citrus twist on the classic Southern pie adds a splash of flavor and tartness to the dessert. 

A note from Wilbanks: “The trick to making delicious pie dough is using cold ingredients. I even chill my flour, salt, and sugar. Starting with very cold butter and ice cold water will make a world of difference when it comes to the texture of the dough.”

Recipe reprinted with permission from Southern Baked: Celebrating Life with Pie by Amanda Dalton Wilbanks, copyright 2018. Published by Gibbs Smith.