Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Make Strawberry Chess Squares, A Sweet Southern Confection

Strawberry Chess Squares,  A Sweet Southern Confection
Chef Kathi
Just about anyone I've ever met who grew up in the Deep South, knew something about Chess Pie, Chess Cake, Chess Bars or Chess Squares.

Chances are, even if you were not born and bred in the South, if you've ever been to a party, especially a Christmas party hosted or contributed to, by a Southern Belle, you too have had a taste of this sensational Southern confection. 

Chess desserts come in many different guises, sometimes lemon, sometimes chocolate, sometimes plain ole' vanilla, and in the case of the one pictured here, that I baked today, sometimes even strawberry. 

They are all ooey-gooey delicious! Another commonality that chess desserts share is that with their crackly- cracked top crust and ooey-gooey center, they have the potential to be rather homely in appearance. 

It is against my religion to serve homely food. (Well, not really. I just believe in making a little extra effort to make food look attractive.) To ramp up the pretty factor in this dessert, I dusted the top surface with a small smidgen of powdered sugar and encircled the chess square in a ring of fresh chopped strawberries.

Simple, yes! 

Attractive, you bet!

Strawberry Chess Squares 

Part 1:
1 box strawberry cake mix
1 egg
1 stick unsalted butter

Part 2:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Part 1: Mix cake mix, melted butter and 1 egg to a soft dough. Press into the bottom of the pan.

Part 2: Mix cream cheese, 2 remaining eggs, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Pour on top of crust. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown. The center under the crust will be just a bit loose and jiggly.

Allow to cool before serving. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh strawberries.

With the Fourth of July next week, I'm thinking this could easily be turned into a Red, White and Blue Dessert with the addition of blueberries and a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yes, I really did intend to say mini scoop. Just on it's own, this is one decadently rich and sinfully delicious dessert.

No comments: