Ever heard of chess pie before? Neither had I until I saw a segment on The Cooking Channel that took place at a pie shop in Brooklyn where they were making a buttermilk version. It involved butter, sugar, and eggs and I thought, shoot, what could be better?
So a few months later when I found a recipe in my Martha Stewart magazine for a Chess Tart I thought it serendipitous. Martha has never steered me wrong before and I didn’t think she would now.
The crust for this tart is made of vanilla wafers which I’ve had a total weakness for since preschool when they would give them to us as a snack with milk before story time. I managed to find a more natural version of them at Trader Joe’s where you can actually see flecks of vanilla bean in the cookies. Very tasty.
Chess Tart (from www.marthastewart.com)
· FOR THE FILLING
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fine cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
· FOR THE TART SHELL
- Vegetable oil cooking spray, for pan
- 1 1/4 cups ground vanilla wafers (about 45)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the tart shell: Coat a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Mix together wafers, butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
Transfer pan to a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tart shell is golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
Make the filling: Mix together sugars, cornmeal, and salt, breaking up clumps. Whisk in eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Whisk in butter. Pour filling into tart shell. Bake until top is dark golden brown and edge is set but center is still a bit wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Refrigerate until cooled, at least 2 hours or overnight.