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Matcha Buttermilk Chess Pie

yield: 1 nine-inch pie


For the All-Butter Crust

  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup (6.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water

For the Matcha Buttermilk Custard Filling

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/3 cups (10.65 fluid ounces) buttermilk
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish


For the All-Butter Pie Crust

  • Combine 1/2 cup ice, 1/2 cup cold water, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Transfer the cup to the refrigerator and let the mixture chill while you work with the dry ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt until combined. Add 1/2 cup cold butter cubes and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay though — be careful not to overblend!).
  • Remove your ice water mixture from the fridge and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture (from the 2nd step). Use a pastry blender to cut the liquid into the mixture until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the pastry blender to mix the liquid into the mixture until the dough comes together in a ball. At this point, it's okay if you have a couple dry bits remaining; you'll bring these together in the mixture later. Don't panic if you have quite a bit of the ice water mixture left — you likely won't need to use all of it (I use about half of it when I make my dough), and using all of it will lead to a soggy crust that's difficult to work with.
  • Squeeze and pinch your fingertips to bring the dough together — if necessary, sprinkle dry bits with more small drops of the ice water to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  • Once the dough has chilled overnight and has the texture and consistency of saltwater taffy, it's ready to be rolled. Liberally sprinkle a work surface with flour. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the work surface, sprinkling its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough seems too sticky at first, add flour liberally. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure, from the center out, moving the pie dough around every quarter to roll it evenly. Roll the the dough to about 11 to 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick (place your pie plate upside down over it to check its size).
  • Move the dough into the pie plate by folding it into quarters, then moving it into the plate and unfolding it. When the dough is in the plate, press it firmly into the bottom and sides of the plate. Use kitchen shears to trim the excess dough and use a fork to crimp the pie crust border onto the plate. If you're using a more complicated crust than the crimp, leave about 1/4-inch overhang over the pie plate's rim and use this overhang to make the crust into the design of your choice (check out my Pinterest board for inspiration!). Use a fork to prick holes all over the bottom and sides of the pie crust, before covering the prepared pie crust loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight — see baker's notes).
  • When you're ready to prebake the pie, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 425 (F). Whisk together 1 large egg white with 1 teaspoon water in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  • Remove the pie crust from the freezer and line the bottom and sides with aluminum foil, making sure that the crimped edges are completely covered and there are no gaps between the foil and the crust. Pour the pie weights into the pan over the foil and spread them so the are more concentrated around the edges of the shell versus the center of the crust. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the crimped edges are set but not browned.
  • Remove the pan and baking sheet from the oven, place on a wire rack, and lift out the foil and pie weights. Let the crust cool for a minute. Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of the crust with a thin layer of the egg white glaze (from the 7th step). Return the pan and the baking sheet to the oven's middle rack and continue baking for 3 more minutes. Remove and cool completely before filling.

For the Matcha Buttermilk Chess Pie

  • Once the crust has been pre-baked and cooled, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 (F). Place the pre-baked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  • Make the matcha buttermilk custard filling. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons matcha powder, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until combined. Whisk in 7 tablespoons melted butter and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Add 2/3 cup crème fraîche and whisk until smooth. Add 3 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk, one at a time, only adding the next egg when the previous one has been fully incorporated. Finish off the custard by adding 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, whisking well after each addition.
  • Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell — be careful not to overfill the pie shell, it's okay if you have a little extra custard leftover. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or when the edges are set, puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly — the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; you definitely want to pull it out when there's still wobble in the custard. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 2 to 3 hours, until slightly warmed. Serve slightly warm — the pie will keep at room temperature for 1 day, and refrigerated for 2 days.