4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. flour
pinch of salt
1 1/4 c. sugar
Add, at one time, slowly:
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
Bake in an unbaked 8″ pie shell for 45 minutes to an hour at 325°F.
For chocolate chess add @ 1/4 c. melted unsweetened chocolate.
For lemon chess add 1/4 c. lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. zest.
I wasn't a fan of chess pie until I had a freshly made one. The delicacy of the filling doesn't hold up very long in a refrigerator. The lovely crispiness on the top, reminiscent of creme brulee, gets lost as it sits.
Lemon is lovely and I once made a Key lime chess pie because I had a bag of them and thought worth the experiment. (They are hideously hard to zest. Persian limes are best for that.) My favorite, though, is vanilla, which is a flavor I only came to appreciate in middle age. In my youth I thought it was a place holder for more interesting fare. I changed my mind about 10 years ago. I don’t recall any particular trigger for the change.