Sesame Chess Pie from Pie for Everyone by Petra Paredez

Chess Pie is apparently a dish that came from the Southern US. No one is quite sure why it’s called that, but two theories are that it was original called “chest pie” because all the ingredients would already be in your chest, or pantry; or, that it was called “just pie” – and in either case the northerners misunderstood the southern accent. Either way you slice it, it’s simply delicious.

This recipe comes to use from Petra Paradez’s cookbook, Pie for Everyone, which is available for purchase at Now You’re Cooking.

Pie for Everybody Cookbook

Traditional Chess Pie has butter in it, but this recipe takes it to a new level by using tahini instead, and sprinkling the top with sesame seeds that toast up to a golden crisp.


1¼ C Sugar

3 Tbsp Extra-fine Cornmeal

3 Tbsp Flour

½ teasp Salt

3 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

¼ C Tahini

? C Buttermilk

½ C Heavy Cream

1 teasp Vanilla


1 Pie Crust

2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds


Prepare the pie crust (homemade or store-bought is fine) by placing it in a pie dish and crimping the top. Set aside

Preheat oven to 400F.


In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt.

Whisk in the eggs, egg yolks and tahini until it is well incorporated.

Whisk in the buttermilk, cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Place the pie crust on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.

Sprinkle the top evenly with sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Bake for a further 40 minutes, or until the center of the pie has puffed up.


Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes or more. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Store up to 4 days at room temp.