Gingerbread Chess Pie

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



8 servings


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


  1. Blind bake the crust at 375º to make sure this gooey filling doesn’t make the crust soggy.
  2. Adjust the oven temperature to 350º.
  3. Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together using a stand or hand-held mixer.
  4. Add the molasses and eggs one at time, combining thoroughly as you add each egg.
  5. Add the coconut buttermilk and combine.
  6. Add the lemon juice, spices, and salt, and continue to mix.
  7. Pour the batter inside the parbaked pie crust.
  8. Bake at 350º for 35 minutes on the middle oven rack.
  9. Move the pie to the top rack and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. 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.

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