kthread cooks: chess pie

On Wednesday, I was in New York for about seven hours (it’s a nice day trip from Miami), warming my hands with cider from the Union Square Market and later, sipping hot chocolate with my friend Adnaan (pictures and video of both below). Adnaan and I talked about cities and travel, prompting me to pull Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities off the bookshelf later that night. In the book, Marco Polo and Kublai Khan stretch the fabric of the cities in Khan’s empire and play chess.

Still thinking about chess on Friday, National Pie Day (I’ve extended this to International Pie Weekend), chess pie seems most appropriate this year. Thank you Aaron, Laura, Amanda, Lauren, Mica, John, Jessica, Elia, Nina, Ben, Brian, and Lisa for all the thoughtful pie suggestions as I wondered what kind to make—promise that we’ll make them all here on kthread in time.

For now, allow me to share my secret Chess Pie recipe with a filling that crackles with mystery in whatever city and season it is baked:

Recipe: Make pie crust (RLB’s perfect cream cheese crust recipe below), line pie dish. Crimp edges, prick with fork. Bake the empty crust for 10 minutes if desired. Then, whisk three eggs + one yolk in bowl. Add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1/2 cup white sugar (or appropriate substitute), 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or appropriate substitute), 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1-2 tablespoons citrus zest (of your choice). Whisk. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup melted and cooled unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of citrus juice. Whisk. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then 20ish minutes (start checking at 20) at 300 degrees. Take out to cool when the center is just set. Pie will firm as it sets. Garnish with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

for the crust: Rose Levy Berenbaum’s perfect cream cheese pie crust (pdf)

strong reading recommendation: Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

listening recommendation: Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

chess pie wallpaper on Flickr

drink pairing: buttermilk straight, if you can handle it

salt recommendation: (kosher within the recipe)

And this is the citrus stand at the Coral Gables Farmers’ Market where I bought the excellent honeybells:

citrus at coral gables farmers' market

I’ll try to take video next week of the lovely woman who told me that her father only brings citrus from his grove to this market and has been doing so for the past eighteen years. I also really like the vendors who had swiss chard so small it can be eaten raw, like rainbow lettuce:

baby baby chard from coral gables market (love these vendors, it's their first year)

Apples were the spectrum of color at the Union Square market on Wednesday,

apples at the union square market

and there were as many types of cider (apple, pear, with cloves, without),

cider cauldron at the union square market

but this Adnaan clip is unique and makes me laugh (he knows better than to give me video I can use). The Takeaway is quite lucky to have him as their Web Editor:

No matter where and how I travel, I am grateful for friends that help me navigate the paths in, around, and through cityscapes—until I return to the Magic Cottage, where if you look quickly, you just may catch a leaf dancing behind you…

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