Perfectly rich, custardy chess pie bars portion the classic pie into bars – perfect for serving just two people!
I am highly overdue with this post.
I took these photos weeks – nay, months – ago when I made this recipe, yet I have failed to share it with you. Perhaps I was waiting for juuuust the right moment.
You see, this recipe comes from my friend Christina’s cookbook – the aptly named Dessert For Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes. Christina was one of the very first “established” bloggers to befriend me when I started this site, and she remains a dear friend several years later. I was thrilled when she first told me that she had landed her first book deal – I knew that it would be positively amazing, because every recipe she cranks out is nothing short of mouthwatering.
As for my timing in telling you about this book, Christina just gave birth to her and her husband’s first little girl (joining their two babies of the four-legged variety) five days ago, so it seems only fitting that I should post this recipe now. (Make sure to pop over to Christina’s Instagram to check out some cutie-pie pictures of her newest addition – she’s a cutie for sure.)
This cookbook makes me happy because it contains all of the home-spun recipes you could want, sized down to serve just two people. I love chess pie, but that stuff is rich – there’s no way I could ingest an entire full-size pie and survive to tell the tale. So instead, I turned to Christina’s Chess Pie Bars recipe – Christina makes them in a loaf pan, with a shortbread crust like lemon bars. They’re easy to cut into 2 large or 4 smaller bars, and don’t leave the leftovers calling to you from the fridge every time you go to get a drink of water. (Don’t tell me I’m the only person who can hear her dessert taunting her from the other room.)
In short, you need to buy this cookbook. I would tell you more, but I’m too busy plotting what recipe I want to make next.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
- 3 to 5 tablespoons water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
- 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1½ teaspoons cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and kit it into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until evenly incorporated. Add the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of water, and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. If the dough doesn't clump together nicely and there are dry bits at the bottom of the bowl, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water.
- Press the crust into the bottom of an ungreased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the pan from the oven. Then, turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
- Sir together all the filling ingredients. Pour over the parbaked crust. Bake for 40 minutes. The pie bars are done when the top is nicely browned and dry.
- Let cool completely in the pan, and chill overnight for the prettiest slices. Serve chilled or warm, whichever you like.