In honor of the Kentucky Derby last week, we decided to “visit” Kentucky and make our version of Derby Pie!
The Kentucky Derby of course needs no introduction as it is one of the most famous horse races in the world. While it usually happens in May, this year it was delayed 4 months due to the pandemic. It is commonly referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” as the race is very exciting and the horses dash around the track in such a short time.
As part of the race festivities, there are several food and drink traditions. Among them are the mint julep cocktail and the burgoo stew. We are most interested in the delicious dessert served each year at the Derby. Originally created by the Kern family of the Melrose Inn, it is a chocolate and walnut tart with a pastry crust.
The Kern family registered the trademark “Derby Pie”, so the pie is known by other names as well. These include the “Run for the Roses Pie”, the “Pegasus Pie” and “May Day Pie”. The Derby is often referred to as “The Run for the Roses” due to the pile of roses draped over the winner. Pegasus is the name of the parade at the festival and “May Day” is a reference to the fact that the race is usually run the first Saturday in May.
While of course the actual recipe is secret, we have come up with a version that is pretty tasty. It sort of tastes like a giant chocolate chip cookie, and who doesn’t like those? The pie is quite rich, so small slices are probably best.
The Dessert Formerly known as Derby Pie
Single-crust 9 inch pie shell (recipe below, or use a premade one if desired)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
1 T vanilla
1/2 c flour
1 c chocolate chips
1 c walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add in butter while whisking. Fold in flour, stirring until all bits of flour are absorbed. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour mixture into the pie shell. Bake the pie at 350 F for 50-55 minutes until the center is just set.
Single Crust for a 9-inch pie
1/2 c butter, chilled and cut into small (ie 1/2 inch) pieces.
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
3-5 T ice water (amount depends on humidity)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and salt. Add butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas (this takes about 20-30 pulses). With the food processor running, add the water through the feed tube 1 T at a time until the dough comes together. Flatten to a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough out to a 9 inch circle (it will be about 3/8 inch or 4 mm thick) and fit into pie pan.