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Friday, July 3, 2020

Trader Joe's Lemon Chess Pie

Never heard of chess pie before. Thought maybe it was like a Rosca de Reyes but with plastic chess pieces baked into it instead of a plastic baby Jesus. Nope. Although, you gotta admit that would be fun. You could play a game with just the chess pieces you found in your slice of pie, as a way to introduce an element of chance into the game. But then again, meh. I'm sure the pawns would be a choking hazard. Darn you, chess pie.

So I Googled it. Apparently, it's Southern, and it means "just pie" but with a deep Southern accent. Fair enough. If that's the case, though, then shouldn't it be "chess pah"?

This version of chess pie is super tangy and sweet. It's a delicious, mouth-puckering lemon flavor. It immediately reminded both Sonia and I of lemon bars. We both agree it's a uniquely summery flavor, but we can't really put our finger on why we feel that way. I guess it's still lemon harvest season...?

The body of the pie is a fairly dense lemon custard. It's very smooth and somewhat thick. The crust is dry and flaky, maybe mildly buttery. The crust was a little too broad around the edge of the pie. There's like a half inch where there's nothing but crust and no lemon. I didn't mind eating the crust plain, but then again, I was pretty hungry. I could see some people discarding the excess crust since it's not particularly interesting by itself. How wasteful.

The lemon factor is pretty intense. That is, the coefficient of lemonosity is necessarily greater than the determinant value of the neutrality of the crustal elements when multiplied by pi. Ahem—I misspoke. I meant "when multiplied by pie." Make sense? Get it? Got it? Good.

$7.99 for six servings. I think you can definitely get at least six servings out of this one. It's pretty rich, so a medium-size pie piece is pretty satisfying. Double fours here in honor of 4th of July Weekend.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. My great-aunt used to make a Chocolate Chess Pie every Thanksgiving and Easter. If you say just in a thick Southern accent without the "t", it kind of sounds like chess 😉.

    1. Mmm now I want chocolate chess pie!

    2. Soooo good! I now have the recipe (family secret), but I use a homemade pie crust to make it even better!!

  2. Chess Pie is more than just Southern for "pie". The filling is a kind of "curd", like lemon curd, thus the resemblance to lemon bars. The texture has also been described as cheese-free cheese cake.

  3. I Purchased this lemon pie at Trader Joe’s yesterday. I knew I was indulging in a rich dessert, but I had no idea how rich. I was only able to eat a couple bites and put it down. At first I thought well that said I wasted eight dollars. No I’m taking it back today. This pie is so sweet he could put you in a diabetic coma. Pure sugar!

    1. You should've brought it to me because I love that pie..grew up on it. It was freshly made at Piggley Wiggley's in Texas, but I found out that the pie is seasonal and I've been looking for a Lemon Chess pie for forever


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