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Phyllo dough cuts chess pie calories

By Jeanne Jones
King Features

Dear Jeanne,

I found this recipe in one of my mother’s boxes. I remember that it was delicious, but I would like to bring it into this century. Can you help me slim it down, but keep its unique custardy flavor?

— Francine, Akron


5 eggs; ¾ cup buttermilk; 1½ tsp. vanilla; ½ cup butter, melted; 1¾ cups sugar; ¼ cup cornmeal; 2 tbsp. flour; 9-inch pie crust.

Beat together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and butter. Add the sugar, cornmeal and flour. Pour into the unbaked crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes eight servings.

Dear Francine,

The ingredients in this recipe may be misleading to some people, because many people think buttermilk is fattening and maybe too sour to be good in a custard.

First, buttermilk is not high in butterfat, and you have the option to buy low-fat buttermilk. Second, you will be surprised at how delicious this custard is. The phyllo dough makes a very nice flaky crust, and it’s quick and easy to put together.

This was very good while still warm, but make sure you refrigerate it if it lasts longer than a few hours!


1¼ cups sugar

¼ cup cornmeal

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1½ cups low-fat buttermilk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. butter, melted

6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, egg whites, buttermilk, vanilla extract and butter. Set aside.

Spray a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a sheet of the phyllo dough over the pan, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fold the extra piece of dough (about 6 inches) that hangs off the side of the pan back over and spray again, so that you have only an inch to 2 inches hanging over.

Continue around the pan, rotating so that the dough fold-overs are dispersed evenly around the pan until you have 5 sheets done, spraying after each one.

Now take the edges that are hanging over and fold them under and up on top of the lip of the pan so that it looks neat.

Finally, take the last sheet of phyllo dough and place it in the pan. With scissors, cut the dough 1 inch longer than the edge of the pan all the way around. Tuck the last layer of dough under the others so that you have a nice edge, and spray again. Place the crust on a baking sheet.

Combine the sugar-and-cornmeal mixture and the buttermilk mixture, and pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pie is puffed and lightly golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Makes eight servings.

Each serving contains about:

Original recipe — 452 calories; 21 grams fat; 164 milligrams cholesterol; 398 milligrams sodium; 60 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 1 gram fiber.

Revised recipe — 269 calories; 7 grams fat; 66 milligrams cholesterol; 208 milligrams sodium; 39 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 1 gram fiber.

Jeanne Jones’ column is distributed by King Features Syndicate. Send your recipe for revision to Cook It Light, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope. You also can submit requests at


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