Monday, July 9, 2012

Birthday Derby Pie

One of my dear friends turns a quarter century tomorrow.  Our little group got together for a celebration yesterday evening and, as the birthday girl requested, I made a Derby Pie (and homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream) for the occasion.

Back in November I had hosted a little Derby Pie tasting holiday party where I tried out two different Derby Pie recipes (my mother's go-to recipe and the one I'll be sharing here) and invited friends over to help me decide which was better.  Most folks, myself included, slightly preferred my mother's recipe; however, the birthday girl really enjoyed the kick of bourbon in this recipe.

For those who have never had a Derby Pie (it's a Kentucky thing), it's essentially a chocolate pecan pie with a few variations depending on the recipe.  Sometimes pecan are used, other times walnuts, and sometimes a mixture of the two.  Some recipes include bourbon, while others do not.  I grew up with my mother making a Derby Pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas and they are possibly my favorite type of pie.

Inside a thick, buttery, flaky pie crust is an incredibly rich and creamy filling full of chopped pecans and walnuts, chunks of chocolate, a splash of vanilla, and plenty of bourbon.  What tastes so complex and divine is actually very quick and simple to make.  Derby Pie is one of the quickest pies to throw together which is another reason I adore it.  Give this pie a try, you won't regret it!  And if you're making it for a special occasion, why not add a sweet little handmade bunting to make it extra special?

Derby Pie
Adapted slightly from here 
serves 8-12 

Recipe for a single 10-inch pie crust (see below)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups toasted pecans and/or walnuts, chopped (I used an equal mixture of the two)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the prepared pie crust and line a 10-inch deep dish pie pan with the dough, crimping or decorating the edges as desired.  Place in the freezer while preparing the filling to keep dough chilled.

In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed with a whisk attachment, whip the butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.  Slowly add in the flour, a little at a time to avoid lumps, and whisk until completely combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, until evenly mixed.

Pour filling into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pie is set.

Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a little homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Pie Crust
Recipe from King Arthur Flour
yields two 9-inch crusts or one thick, generous 10-inch deep dish crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, cubed butter
1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.

Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.

Cut in the cubed butter until you have flakes the size of your fingernail.

Add the water, two tablespoons at at time, mixing with a rubber spatula as you add the water to the dough.

When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it (you may not need all the water,  you may need a little more), transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper.

Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then pat it into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

*For great tips and tricks on getting the perfect pie crust, make sure to check out the original recipe link on King Arthur Flour's website here.


  1. One of my faves too! Love the little bunting!

  2. This looks so delicious! The bunting is adorable :) love your blog!

  3. I have never heard of derby pie before (I'm from NY). Looks so delicious!

  4. That's a sweet use for the King Arthur Flour pie crust recipe - and an even sweeter use for the red and white baker's twine. What a great way to celebrate a birthday without the traditional cake and ice cream - Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  5. That looks amazing! I've never attempted the Derby Pie since I'm a transplant, but I may try to make this next time we have guests from out of town!


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