This past weekend was the Kentucky Derby, and there are a lot of traditions associated with it. Horses, fancy/funny hats, mint juleps, and Derby Pie. Or perhaps I should say, Derby-Pie®, because it’s a registered trademark of Kern’s Kitchen in Prospect, Kentucky who are the only ones allowed to advertise with that name. The recipe is secret, and the history of this dessert is fascinating, as there have actually been a number of lawsuits over outlets which publish recipes for things alleging to be Derby Pie.
My recipe today is NOT for Derby Pie. It’s for a separate but similar pie which I found on the Kitchn, and was inspired to bake for our semi-regular friend potluck dinner. The theme was Mexican food (since it was the day after Cinco-de-Mayo, and I’ll post my recipe for that later), but seeing as our get-together was also the day of the Kentucky Derby, I decided to make a pitcher of mint juleps (of which I was the primary partaker – know your audience!), and this particular pie. The Kitchn calls it a “Kentucky Bourbon and Walnut Pie”, but which seems to leave out the amazing fact that it also contains CHOCOLATE, and seems to imply that you couldn’t use anything except Kentucky bourbon – when I’m thinking you could probably use any kind of whiskey, as long as you didn’t hold strictly to calling it a “Kentucky Bourbon” pie.
This was my first time making a pie in my new pie pan – yay wedding presents actually being used! – and it turned out very well. I think this may have been my second or third pie at all ever, so it turned out pretty well. It’s possible that I didn’t crimp the edges of the crust in far enough, but it still looks quite pretty. I was even worried about how the walnuts and chocolate seemed to float up when most of the filling was poured into the crust, but it turns out that’s supposed to happen. The nuts will float to the top and since they are covered in gooey sugar goodness, they’ll caramelize and crisp up a little bit.
I completely failed to make whipped cream, and didn’t figure that out until after the party. The Boy laughed and me and said I would need to make another pie just so that I could make the accompanying whipped cream. But as much fun and as easily as the pie baked up, I’m not sure I’ll be making another one any sooner than a year. This pie is SO sweet. It is tooth-achingly sweet. But you know, next year I think I’ll make another one. But I’ll have to find more Kentucky bourbon because all of ours went into that pitcher.
PS – anytime your pie plate looks like this after serving, you know you did a good job.
Chocolate Walnut and Bourbon Pie
Yield: 1 pie, serves 10-12
For the pie:
1 unbaked pie crust, thawed if frozen
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon [or whiskey]
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (about 6 ounces)
1 (3 1/2-ounce) bar bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the whipped cream:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Kentucky bourbon [or whiskey]
Move a rack to the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
Roll the pie dough out if needed. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough and crimp the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Place the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk until completely incorporated.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the walnuts and chocolate evenly in the crust. Pour in the filling.
Place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake until the center of the pie reaches 200°F and the top springs back slightly when tapped (center will still be a little jiggly), about 50 minutes. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool completely, about 4 hours.
When ready to serve, mix all the whipped cream ingredients in a large bowl, and beat on medium-high speed to stiff peaks. Slice the pie wedges and serve with a dollop of the bourbon whipped cream.
The pie needs to be completely cool before serving, so start making it no later than 6 hours before serving, or up to 1 day in advance. Leftovers can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.