Chess Tart

1 9-inch tart

This tart, based on a classic Southern pie, oozes with gooey custard and has a simple cookie-crumb crust.


For the tart shell

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for pan

  • 1 ¼ cups ground Nilla Wafers (about 45)

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fine cornmeal

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the tart shell: Coat a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Mix together wafers, butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

  2. Transfer pan to a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tart shell is golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

  3. Make the filling: Mix together sugars, cornmeal, and salt, breaking up clumps. Whisk in eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Whisk in butter. Pour filling into tart shell. Bake until top is dark golden brown and edge is set but center is still a bit wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes.

  4. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Refrigerate until cooled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

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