Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie

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Featured Image for post Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie

A tart Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie with a bright lemon flavor, a layer of blackberries on the bottom and dollops of blackberries swirled on top. 

This Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie recipe is from a fun new cookbook Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin. Irvin blogs at Eat the Love and this recipe is a streamlined version of the contest winning pie that received national attention. 

The publisher sent me a copy of Marbled, Swirled, and Layered to review. When UPS dropped off the cookbook, my grandson was visiting and helped me open the package. When he saw the cover with an elegant cake version of a Hostess cupcake, he declared it, “the best cookbook ever.”

Collage of making a Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie

My first thought was I should make the Marshmallow-Filled Chocolate Cake on the cover, But lemon pie is a family favorite, and I loved reading the history of this pie, so I couldn’t resist making this prize winning pie.

A chess pie is a rich baked custard pie made with lots of eggs, cream and butter. Irvin changes it up adding a little cornmeal and lemon in the filling. I was a little bit leery of adding the cornmeal, but it’s only 1/4 cup and adds body to the filling without a gritty texture.

I changed up the recipe slightly. I used my favorite pie crust instead of the whole wheat vodka crust Irvin used. There was also a little bit more filling than would fit in my pie plate, so I just refrigerated it and ate it with a little graham crackers crumbled on top.

A tart Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie with a bright lemon flavor, a layer of blackberries on the bottom and dollops of blackberries swirled on top.

Irvin adds a blackberry filling to the lemon, which adds a great contrasting color and the fun swirl to the top. All the recipes in the cookbook have creative flavor combinations and simple decorations that turn ordinary desserts in o stunning desserts.

My husband and I were crazy about this pie. I’ve added it to my menu for Thanksgiving. You really should add it to your menu too. You’ll thank me later.

Featured Image for post Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie
Yield: 8 servings

Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 homemade or store bought pie crust

Blackberry Filling

  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Lemon Chess Pie Filling

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375° Roll out pie dough into a 12-inch circle on a surface liberally sprinkled with flour. Fit into a standard 9-inch pie pan and flute the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
  2. Line with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper with pie weights and bake for an additional 15 minutes (or until crust is starting to get golden brown.) Let the crust cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Make the blackberry filling: In a medium sauce pan mix together sugar and cornstarch. Add blackberries and lemon juice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up the blackberries as much as possible with a wooden spoon or potato masher, until the filling has thickened and the berries have fallen apart, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Make the Chess Pie Filling: Combine the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in butter, cream, eggs, egg yolks cornmeal, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the filling has thickened a bit and coats the back of the spoon, about 7 minutes. It should be the consistency of thin lemon pudding. Remove from heat.
  5. Assemble the pie by spooning most of the blackberry filling into the bottom of the baked pie crust. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the blackberry filling for the top. Gently pour or spoon the lemon chess filling over the blackberry filling, trying to disturb the blackberry filling as little as possible. Don’t overfill the pie. Spoon the remaining blackberry filling on top and decoratively swirl the blackberry filling with the lemon filling.
  6. Bake until the edges of the pie filling start to brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of Marbled, Swirled, and Layered to review, but as always, all opinions expressed are always my own. 

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