The Mis-Named Lange TraditionPosted: December 19, 2021
Even in families where cooking is not the Olympic sport it is here there are food traditions worth continuing. In Russ’ family it is the Christmas treat they call Chess Pies. Being a child of southern roots I was familiar with chess pies, but I was quickly told by my in-laws that what I knew was not these Philadelphia chess pies.
First these pies are tiny fruit and nut pies that must be topped by a candied cherry that has a four year shelf life. As I read the recipe I was happy to sit this tradition out. Russ and Carter picked it up. Today as they were making the annual pies Russ went through the ingredient list with me to see if we had the ingredients. Walnuts, check, raisins, check (although I was mistaken), eggs, check, sugar, are you kidding, check, box of pie crust mix… are you kidding me?
I told Russ we never used a box of pie crust mix in our house. He said they needed to go buy some. I convinced him we had everything they needed for a pie crust and convinced Carter to make that from scratch, which they did.
As I sat in the living room working on my puzzle laughing about the discussion about oven temperature and the worry if the pies were done or not coming from the kitchen. Without looking at them I called out, “less is better than too much.”
Russ and Carter proudly sent their photo of the finished pies to Russ’ father, “the king of chess pies.” The word came back, “You forgot a cherry.” Of course they did not, it just sank into the pie. So tonight we will taste the lange family tradition. Not a real chess pie, but a Lange chess pie.