We do love our chess pies here in the South and have our favorite recipes, maybe passed down from our mothers and grandmothers. It’s hard to improve on tradition, but we surely tried… by adding browned butter AND strawberries (and just a hint of orange, too)! We cut back on the sugar just a bit also. This classic pie is so easy to make, and is a fun one to get aspiring little chefs in the kitchen to help you with.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pie crust into 9" glass pie dish, pressing sides to adhere to dish. Prick several times with a fork. With fingers, mix 2 tablespoons sugar with the orange zest. Scatter over bottom of the pie crust and gently push into the dough. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan, whisking and watching closely as it melts. Heat for about 6–7 minutes until butter smells toasty and has turned golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine 1½ cups sugar with the corn meal and salt. Stir together the browned butter, buttermilk and juice. Add this wet mixture to the sugar mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the eggs.
Scatter the crust with strawberries. Gently ladle egg mixture over the berries.
Bake about 50–60 minutes, until filling is set. Note: If edge of crust is getting too brown, shield edges or tent pie with foil. Chill. Serve as-is or with a dollop of whipped cream!