When the food necessities of a proper Kentucky Derby party are considered, the top two places on the list are reserved for mint juleps and a pie — a certain kind of nut pie — that goes by many names. Back in 1950, George Kern, the manager of the Melrose Inn at Prospect, Ky., created a pastry named the Derby Pie. The name of the popular pie was officially registered with the U.S. Patent Office in 1968, and the Kern family protects the secret recipe and the use of the pie’s name with great effort. So, you may have heard of a May Day Pie, named because the Derby is held the first weekend in May. Maybe you’ve heard folks rave about Pegasus Pie, named for the Pegasus Parade, which is a key part of the festivities during the two weeks prior to the Derby. It is one of the largest parades in the country. To avoid controversy, sometimes folks will refer to it as a Kentucky Nut Pie.
What makes this pie different from the usual southern pecan pie? The difference is in the filling, with the omission of corn syrup and the addition of flour and chocolate chips. Like a traditional pecan pie, this is a dense, heavy pie, but it is not overly sweet. It is delicious made with either walnuts or pecans.
The following is my take on this delicious Kentucky specialty. I use a mixture of brown and granulated sugars and, of course, a good bourbon. Be careful not to over bake the pie and remember this is one of those pies that must be allowed to completely cool before slicing. Agony, yes, but it’s worth the wait.
Recipe for The Pie Belle’s Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
1 prepared recipe for a single pie crust, unbaked
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup flour
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Roll pie dough out to form a circle of about 12 inches. Carefully unroll into a 9-inch pie plate and trim excess, leaving about ½ inch overhang around the pie plate. Roll the excess under and crimp the edge around the pie. Brush the pie crust’s edge with an egg wash (1 egg, beaten with about 1 tablespoon of milk). The egg wash will give the finished pie a nicely browned crust with a shiny finish. Place pie shell in refrigerator.
3. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and sugars. Stir well.
4. Add beaten eggs and stir well (with a whisk if necessary) until combined. Add flour and dash of salt. Stir well until combined.
5. Stir in bourbon, vanilla extract, chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
6. Carefully pour filling mixture into the prepared pie shell.
7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and the middle of the pie is set.
8. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before serving. The pie will slice cleanly if refrigerated for a short time.
9. Serve alone or with whipped cream or ice cream.