Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Kenilworthian's Apple Chess Tarts

chess tartsThe Kenilworthian's Apple Chess Tarts
  • 12 ready made mini pie shells (I used two packages of Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apples (about 3-4 regular sized apples)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  • Cream butter and sugar using a hand-mixer.
  • Add eggs and flour and mix until well-blended, but do not over-mix.
  • Grate apples using a standard cheese grater, trying to avoid getting too much apple juice into the mix. You want nice shreds of apple, loosely measured at about 2 cups. I recommend Granny Smith apples, but any relatively firm and tart apple will do.
  • Mix in lemon juice (for added tartness) and cinnamon. Both are optional. Some people prefer the taste of the apple to come through. I like most of all to accentuate the tartness of the apples. The cinnamon just makes it seem more like good old apple pie.
  • Fold grated apple mixture into the batter. Don't worry if it gets a little runny with the lemon and apple liquid.
  • Divide mixture equally among 12 mini pie shells.
  • Bake on a cookie sheet (or foil) for 8 min. at 400 degrees, then 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees or until lightly browned on top.

I made these for our Annual Holiday Party on Thursday and they were a big hit. I adapted the recipe from one for chess pie that I have seen posted several places on the internet. There actually is no connection between "chess pie" and the game of chess, by the way: likely the name derives from a corruption of the word "cheese," either because cheese was often added to the recipe (it was popular among Southern farmers) or because the solids tend to "cheese up" at the surface of the pie, no one really knows. Even if the name has no real connection to the game, though, it is fun to make for a chess-related function.

I've been playing around with apple "chess" recipes of late (see here and here, here and here). I decided to go with apple chess tarts over chess pie because the pie gets rather gooey and is not easy to slice up without making a mess. I definitely do not recommend the pie version if you are going to share it at a social function. But the tarts or mini-pies are really perfect for parties. The only tricky part is figuring out how best to eat them.... Likely I should have removed them from the foil before serving, since people ended up either using a spoon on them (not the best solution) or plopping them out onto a plate (hardly very elegant).

Here's a recipe for "chess cake" that I've been meaning to try. I wonder if that can be made in mini-form? Chess cupcakes, anyone?

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