Chewy Chess Tart

Several weeks ago, I went to my very first pop-up shop since moving to New York. Martha Stewart opened up a weekend pie and tart shop to celebrate the release of her new cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts.

Sadly, there was a one-pie-per-person limit. There was a lot of pressure in making just the right choice. After no small amount of deliberation, I chose this Chewy Chess Tart.

Chewy Chess Tart is a simple, delicious pie that is always a crowd pleaser. Love that vanilla wafer crust!

Chess pie was my favorite pie for most of my childhood. I never had any idea what went into one. I just knew I liked it. Now that I consider myself somewhat of a baker, I am fascinated by this pie and its simplicity. How is it possible that sugar, butter, and eggs can evolve into something so amazingly good?

Chewy Chess Tart | Bake or Break

This pie tastes far more complex than its list of ingredients might lead you to believe. The baking of a custard-like pie, however, can be a bit tricky. While I tend to like underbaking by a smidge, that is not the way to go with this one. If it’s not baked long enough, you’ll end up with a gooey mess.

I am a big fan of this nontraditional (to me, at least) vanilla cookie crust. Honestly, if the pie doesn’t turn out just right, you could be content just eating that crust.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Chewy Chess Tart

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 52 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Chewy Chess Tart

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups finely ground vanilla wafer cookies (about 45 cookies)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

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
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Mix vanilla wafer crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt until combined. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate about 15 minutes, or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes, or until crust is golden. Let cool slightly.

To make the filling:

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  2. Mix both sugars, cornmeal, and salt. Break apart any clumps. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk in butter until smooth. Pour filling into tart shell.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until top is dark golden brown and the edge is set but the center is still just a bit wobbly.
  4. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Refrigerate until completely cooled, 2 hours up to 1 day. Unmold and serve.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts.

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