Chess pie, a classic Southern dessert, gets tipsy with rum-poached raisins.
- Yield:Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, serving 8
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:2 hours, 30 minutes
- For the Crust
- 3/4 cup (3 1/2) ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) slivered almonds, coarsely ground
- 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 16 slices and chilled
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Ice water, as needed
- For the Filling
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) dark rum
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons coarse-ground cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the Crust: Combine flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Using two knives, cut butter into flour mixture. Alternatively, toss butter with flour mixture, and quickly rub it in using thumb, index, and middle fingers (motion should be similar to snapping your fingers).
Turn the mixture onto a clean, dry work surface and arrange in a mound, then make a well in the center. Add the egg, and, with the help of a bench scraper, work the egg into the flour mixture. Add ice water, 2 teaspoons at a time, if needed to combine the dough. Knead 2 to 3 times, then gather into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
Once chilled, press the dough into 9-inch round pie dish and dock with a fork. Freeze dough for 15 minutes. Line pie with parchment paper, allowing some excess to hang over the edges. Fill shell with pie weights or dried beans and bake 10 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until dough looks dry but not golden. Transfer pie to cooling rack and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
For the Filling: Combine raisins and 1/2 cup rum in small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until raisins are plump and most of the rum has been absorbed. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and beat on medium-high speed until light and pale in color, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup rum, vanilla, and vinegar. Stir in raisins and pour mixture into prepared pie shell. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) cornmeal.
Bake until pie is set and golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely. Serve.