Chess Pies have been a holiday tradition for at least 5 generations in my family. This recipe has been handed down from my great-grandmother Ella Dora Goshorn. My grandmother, mother, and aunts baked dozens of these every year for the holidays. They were wrapped in decorative tins and boxes and given as gifts to friends and neighbors who looked forward to receiving them every year. Now my cousins, their children, and me carry on the tradition. I usually make eight dozen every holiday season and gift family, friends and neighbors with these special treats. My cousin bakes 30 dozen and even sends them to family and friends across the country. Chess pies are not beautiful to look at, but they are so delicious. My grandmother and aunts always told me that the recipe had to stay in the family because it was so special. But I broke with that tradition and chose to share the recipe with close friends so that others can enjoy them too.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites. Stir until foamy. Add vanilla. Add raisins and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls into pastry-lined muffin tins.
Use your favorite pie crust recipe for the pastry. Make a pie dough for a double crust pie. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Roll out half of the dough into a large circle. Cut circles large enough to line individual muffin tins. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Spray the muffin tins with Pam before placing the pie dough pastry into the tins.
Bake at 400 degrees until filling sets and then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake until well-browned.