The first (and only) time I tried it, I was sprawled across a bed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. It was late at night and I was clothed in nothing but a fluffy hotel robe. I felt guilt – even a bit of shame – over what I was doing. I intended to save it, save it until I arrived home, save it to share with my loved ones. Yet, there it was between my knees, uncovered, my sticky fingers bringing bits of it to my lips, morsel by morsel, nibble by nibble, the sheets smeared with the evidence – Derby Pie.
I tried to defend my actions – I was starving, room service hours had ended, it has been a taxing day, I couldn’t bring it home on the plane – but nothing, absolutely nothing, could justify eating an entire pie straight from the tin.
I’ve visited Louisville three times in my life and two things about the destination stick in my mind – watching the Kentucky Derby from a private suite (a high point) – and eating nearly an entire Derby Pie while lying in bed (most certainly a shameful low).
This weekend, 20 thoroughbreds will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to run in the 144th Kentucky Derby and, in tribute, I decided to try my hand at my own version of Derby Pie. But this one, I promise, I’ll share.
I’m calling my version “Better than Derby Pie” because the Kern’s Kitchen people, who make the trademarked version of Derby Pie, are a litigious bunch (those bastards).
Better than Derby Pie
- 1 9″ unbaked pie shell (refrigerator or from scratch)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup Karo syrup
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups toasted walnut pieces
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350⁰. In a medium bowl, beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt until frothy. Stir in the flour. Stir in walnut pieces and chocolate chips.
- Fill pie crust with filling, ensuring that nuts and chips and spread evenly throughout pie. Bake 45-50 minutes until the topping is firm and golden brown. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool.