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Maysville’s Historic Transparent Pie

This recipe was updated on 10/14/17.

Okay friends….stop right where you are….no this isn’t a picture of a piece of “Pecan Pie” without the nuts…nor is it a piece of “Chess Pie”.  Yes, I know pictures can be very deceiving, and no I’m not trying to trick you.  This pie is “Transparent Pie”…not to be confused with the other two pies mentioned above.  I’ve seen a lot of confusion, especially between “Chess Pie” and “Transparent Pie” on social media.  Now before I tell you about Transparent Pie…let me clear up any confusion you might have between these three pies.

Pecan Pie – contains sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, corn syrup and pecans, see my recipe for Southern Pecan Pie.

Chess Pie – Some recipes contain sugar, eggs, butter, vinegar, cornmeal and vanilla.  Other recipes don’t call for cornmeal or vinegar, but flour instead.  Then there are recipes that call for cornmeal but no vinegar.  And let’s not forget, the recipes that call for a little milk.  It’s no wonder there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to Chess Pie, and Chess Pie looks very much like Transparent Pie.  I will be posting a recipe for Chess Pie in the very near future.  Update – 10/14/17, see Classic Chess Pie posting.

Transparent Pie – contains sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and whipping cream.

I’ve been making all three of these pies for many years or I would probably be confused more than anyone.  Now let me tell ya about Transparent Pie…

Transparent Pie goes way back to the frontier days, where families made pies using whatever pantry goods they had on hand.  They had no refrigeration in those days, and these pies did not have to be refrigerated.  It was determined many years ago, that Transparent Pie originated in Kentucky, and not just anywhere in Kentucky, but in the Maysville Kentucky area, which is 30 minutes from my hometown of Brooksville, Kentucky.  Transparent Pie is a very well-known pie in this area, although it’s not well-known to many people, even in parts of Kentucky.  You can find this recipe in the Best of The Best of Kentucky cookbook, and it’s also been posted in the Ledger Independent newspaper for Maysville Ky.

The pictures below are of Magee’s Bakery Transparent Pies…

Magee’s bakery in Maysville, has been making these pies for 60 years. They make regular size and the small tarts. When I was small, we always stopped at Magee’s bakery when we drove to Maysville and treated ourselves to the small tart pies…..My sister still picks up their tarts and brings them to our family gatherings.

And yes social media has it correct…these little transparent tarts are the favorite pie of George Clooney, who grew up 10 miles down the road from my family in Augusta….but then again, they are probably the favorite pie of anyone who grew up in the Maysville area.

With that said….are you ready to make a Transparent Pie?

Come on….

transparentpie - 1

Okay, first you need to put some melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, and mix it on medium speed for a minute or so…transparentpie - 2

It will look like this….

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Next pour the whipping cream in…and here’s a little tip to making this pie turn out with that transparent consistency that it’s suppose to have.  Let’s talk whipping cream…You know if you’re gonna use whipping cream by itself, you pour it in a mixing bowl and turn the mixer to high and beat it until it forms stiff peaks….well that’s what you wanna do here.  Whip it until its real light and fluffy.  If you’re just going to mix it in, you might as well just use half and half.

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Now whip it!!

transparentpie - 5Now add in some eggs, flour and vanilla…

transparentpie - 6Mix it in real good…

transparentpie - 7Now pour it into a pie shell…see my recipe for Aunt Elsie’s Flaky Pie Crust.  Now speaking of pie crust…this is important too…the original recipe calls for a regular 9″ pie shell.  If you were buying a store-bought frozen pie shell, that would be the “deep dish” pie shell.  The problem with baking this in a store-bought pie shell is that it’s almost too much filling for the pie shell…therefore it’s hard to get the middle of the pie done enough without getting the top too brown.  Therefore, my family divides this pie filling between two shallow” 9″ pie shells.  Whether you are using store-bought or your own pie dish, this filling works perfect in two shallow pans.  Okay…I’ll stop now..

transparentpie - 8

Now cover the edges of the crust with foil to keep it from over browning…so okay, I forgot to take a picture of this…but just cover the edges with foil, not heavy-duty because it’s not flexible enough, see my tutorial if you need too, Pie Crust 101…now bake it for about 45 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top and not jiggly in the center.  The pie will actually puff up before it’s finished baking, but will deflate when you remove it from the oven.

Let it cool completely before you eat it….trust me, it’s so rich.

Now go share a piece or two with someone you love!



Maysville’s Historic Transparent Pie

  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55


A very rich but smooth, custardy pie filling with a slightly, sweet eggy taste.


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked 9″ (deep dish) pie shell or 2 unbaked 9″ (shallow) pie shells*


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer. Mix together on medium speed for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the whipping cream and mix on high speed for about two minutes until the cream has started to slightly thicken and the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and flour and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into unbaked pie shell'(s) and cover the edges of the crust with foil.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and no longer jiggly in the center.
  7. Cool completely before serving.


  • *The original recipes states to use a 9″ pie shell. If you use a store bought pie shell, the filling is almost too much for one deep dish pie shell…the top gets too brown before the filling gets done. I prefer to bake this pie filling in 2 “shallow” pie shells. It’s a thinner pie, but turns out perfect.


  • Serving Size: 8


10 Responses to Maysville’s Historic Transparent Pie

  1. Looks delicious, I grew up in northern Indiana and it looks very similar to what my grandparents made. They called it “Old Fashioned” cream pie. Wish I had a piece.

    • Hi John, I know the cream pie you’re talking about. It’s very good! They sell it at the church in town in Madison Indiana when they have their fall festival. It’s a little different than the Transparent Pie, but very good. I will post it in the near future, and you’ll see the difference. Hope you get to enjoy some soon! Cindy

  2. This is a great post! I’ve always wondered about how to tell the difference between a chess pie and a transparent pie and how to explain the difference to people. This really helps! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • Thanks Kayla. It is rather hard to explain the difference to someone who has not had the pleasure of tasting either one. I will be posting the Chess Pie soon. You will love this pie and it is very rich.

  3. I just had one of Magee’s transparent pies on Saturday at a family reunion at Blue Lick’s State Park. One of the family stop every year on the way and get 2 boxes of them to share. It is my older daughter’s favorite and I am going to try this recipe tomorrow as she is coming for dinner. Hope it turns out!

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