Sour Orange-Brown Sugar Buttermilk Chess Pie

Hello, bakers!

While thinking of Spring and imagining the upcoming warm, sunny afternoons, I was reminded of my refreshing sunny Sour Orange-Brown Sugar Buttermilk Chess Pie with its tropical flavors. This should push the calendar forward to warmer times in my mind.

Sour Orange-Brown Sugar Buttermilk Chess Pie is a sweet, tart, creamy buttermilk custard pie. Its smooth buttermilk custard is fresh and tangy with the perfect combination of tart lemon, sweet and juicy oranges with the right balance of brown sugar. Using the fresh flavors of sour orange and lemon gives this traditional southern buttermilk chess pie a new tropical flair.

Sour oranges pack an acidic punch and their juice makes a refreshing and bright dessert when it’s incorporated into a custard pie. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find these oranges outside of Florida, so to re-create their ultra sour and bitter taste I have substituted the tart juice by combining lemon juice and orange juice concentrate for the citrus custard filling.

Run away to the tropics while enjoying my refreshing pie!

If sour oranges are available, use 3/4 cup of strained sour orange juice in place of lemon juice and orange juice concentrate.

Meet ya in the kitchen!

For the Pie:

1 recipe unbaked piecrust or frozen prepared (see below)

1 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk, see below**

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 teaspoons lemon zest

6 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons melted butter

Candied Orange Slices:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 navel orange, cut thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife

Let’s Bake!


Roll out the pie crust dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12-inch circle). Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges as desired. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, orange concentrate, orange zest, lemon zest, butter, and lemon juice in another mixing bowl. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until filling is set and center jiggles slightly when gently shaken.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Top with candied orange slices.

**To make the buttermilk substitute: Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the milk and stir.  Allow resting for at least 15 minutes.

For the Candied Orange Slices:     

Bring sugar and water to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add orange slices and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, flipping occasionally, until oranges are translucent but hold their shape, about 30 minutes.

Set a wire rack over the baking sheet.  Gently transfer oranges onto a rack in a single layer.  Let stand until dry and slightly firm.  Use leftover liquid is great for ice or hot tea.


Single Pie Crust for the Food Processor:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons shortening, cold

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and shortening in the bowl of your food processor and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add butter and pulse until combined.  Add 4 tablespoons of cold water to the food processor and mix until it starts to form a ball.  Add more water if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly shape into a large ball.  Work quickly with the dough, as warm hands will melt the butter and not give a flaky crust.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for use.

Inspired by Country Living and  Cooks Country

Bake some love!

Thanks for stopping by.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. mistimaan says:

    Looks yummy


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