The pie is so good, but the pan makes it "company" fare.

The pie is so good, but the pan makes it “company” fare.


Sometimes it’s how you present that makes the difference, and that’s what this recipe is about. 

This pumpkin chess tart combines an old Southern favorite with pumpkin for a holiday dessert that’s a blessing for people (me!) who don’t like the eggy, condensed milk texture of the traditional pumpkin pie. 

The recipe was developed by the stonkingly talented Mindy Merrell, whose blog, Cheater Chef, is a goldmine of simple brilliance in the kitchen. Mindy developed recipes for Martha White for ages, and it’s not an exaggeration to call her gifted in the kitchen. In fact, she’s a Chopped champ! (Go see her Pinterest board if you’re looking for inspiration.) Honestly, I could go on. 

You may think, "I don't need another pan," but with one of these, you can ditch the pie plates.

You may think, “I don’t need another pan,” but with one of these, you can ditch the pie plates.

But back to the lipstick and knockers. This pie is so good, but the pan takes it to greatness. The shape looks so professional, and the removable bottom means no soggy slices and no broken-off wedges. You cut it into squares or slices, and they lift off the bottom easily, so you never end up with crustless servings or crust left behind in the pan. 


Brown Butter Pumpkin Chess Tart
Serves 8
"Some people just don't like pumpkin pie," says Mindy Merrell, "but they love this."
Write a review
  1. 1 (9-inch) pie crust, storebought or homemade (I use Dufour brand pastry--pricey but worth it)
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons cornmeal or cornmeal mix
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 1/4 cup sour cream or buttermilk
  7. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  13. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. Whipped cream for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pie dough and press into the pan, over the bottom and up the side. Trim any dough that hangs over the side.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet or small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, watching closely, until the butter has browned. Let cool. Pour the butter into a medium bowl and add the sugar, cornmeal, eggs, sour cream, pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and mix well.
  3. Pour the filling into the pie crust Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove the pan rim and transfer the tart to a serving platter. Slice and serve with whipped cream.
  1. You can use pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Adapted from
Adapted from
The Project Kitchen