It’s the pie that everybody talks about this time of year, the one that most people associate with Derby, an ultra sweet nut and chocolate pie.
If you’re from Kentucky, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s such a staple of Kentucky cuisine it is actually served deep-fried at the state fair.
But the name “Derby Pie” is trademarked by Kern’s Kitchen, which makes and sells a version based on the original created in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Prospect by Walter and Leaudra Kern. And they are protective of that secret recipe as well as the name and have sued newspapers and magazines that run recipes for “Derby Pie.”
So, just to be clear, this is not an article that is going to give you a recipe for Derby Pie. Because we can’t.
However, we can talk about similar pies, sometimes called Mayday pie for the Kentucky Derby, held on the first Saturday in May every year.
But the curious thing is there isn’t just one recipe. This pie is incredibly elastic.
Some versions call for light Karo corn syrup and pecans, others for dark corn syrup and walnuts. Some recipes are adamant that margarine must be used. Others are fine with butter. Some recipes use white sugar, others brown.
Lots of versions use bourbon, including Maker’s Mark Pie. But lots leave it out, too.
This pie pretty much has to have chocolate or it’s just not the same. But the kind you use can vary with your tastes. Prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate? That’s ok.
My personal preferences run to dark semi-sweet chocolate, dark corn syrup and brown sugar, with butter and pecans, heavy on the bourbon, and served warm.
Lexington cookbook author Barbara Harper Bach, who knows her way around award-winning pies, has a unique take: She calls hers Racetrack Pie and dresses it up with bourbon whipped cream when serving. She also likes to put horse-themed cutouts on top while the pie bakes to give it a festive look.
She will teach a class on how to make this pie, as well as fabulous meringue pies at Williams-Sonoma at The Summit on Fritz Farm on Sunday.
Yields two pies
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup melted butter
- 4 tablespoons Maker’s Mark bourbon
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
- 21/2 cups dark chocolate morsels
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
Mix flour and sugar, add eggs and butter and mix on low to combine. Add the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate morsels, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium. Tip into two 9-inch unbaked pie crusts and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let cool then top with bourbon whipped cream.
To make the cream, use an electric mixer to beat in a cold bowl: 1 pint of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of powdered confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon of Maker’s Mark bourbon until still peaks form. Store in the refrigerator.
Barbara Harper Bach’s Bluegrass Cooking Clinic Pie Class
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Williams-Sonoma 151 Larue, Suite 130, at The Summit at Fritz Farm
Call: (859) 245-5127