Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, y’all! I have been feeling all warm and fuzzy today, which may be due to the glass of wine I just consumed while baking for the big day tomorrow. More than likely, though, my gratitude results from the amazing support and encouragement I’ve received from real-life friends and online friends alike regarding the recent name change of my Instagram account from @gradschoolfoodie to @politicaljunkfoodie. I thought of this name last Friday when I was writing the first draft of my most recent article for INDY Week, Your Thanksgiving Food is Political. I spontaneously changed it after hearing from friends and my mom that it was not, in fact, stupid, and it was in fact, clever and arguably more representative of me as a person than my previous handle. The name change was inevitable, though, as I plan to finish grad school sooner rather than later.
Which brings me to my next point. I am gonna be 100% real with y’all. I love teaching, but I feel like I need to do something food-related along with political science to ensure maximum happiness and minimal existential crises (I’ve had these weekly/sometimes daily since starting grad school). My dream would be to teach a class about The Politics of Food, so I could wax poetic about political identities and culture-specific foods. I also would have more excuses to bake for my class because it would be a part of the curriculum, duh.
I created this recipe for gingerbread chess pie last Friday while writing the INDY draft, and I had the most enjoyable day I’ve had in a while, which also speaks to the necessity of me pursuing a career that somehow combines food and political psychology…please reach out if you have leads! I’m a chronic extrovert, so if I feel the call to stay inside and write and cook instead of socialize, you know I’m feelin’ hella passionate.
I hope y’all develop a passion for all things gingerbread after making this pie. I’m over pumpkin spice, but I love the combination of rich molasses and fiery spices like ginger and cinnamon. My sweet tooth has left the building or at least made less frequent appearances, but I love gingerbread because I have convinced myself at least that the molasses is not as cloyingly sweet as its corn-syrup counterpart used in pecan and other holiday pies.
Gingerbread Chess Pie
1 9″ pie crust, blind-baked
1/4 cup coconut buttermilk at room temperature *see note
4 eggs at room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup Blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Blind bake the crust at 375º to make sure this gooey filling doesn’t make the crust soggy.
- Adjust the oven temperature to 350º.
- Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together using a stand or hand-held mixer.
- Add the molasses and eggs one at time, combining thoroughly as you add each egg.
- Add the coconut buttermilk and combine.
- Add the lemon juice, spices, and salt, and continue to mix.
- Pour the batter inside the parbaked pie crust.
- Bake at 350º for 35 minutes on the middle oven rack.
- Move the pie to the top rack and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least an hour.
Note: I make buttermilk using coconut milk because of my lactose intolerance. I combine one cup of full-fat coconut milk with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. I let this sit out for at least 5 minutes before using in any recipe.