07 May 2013

Derby Pie and a Funky Hat

Derby Pie - More Like a Huge Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Crust

Why is it that the photographer is never photographed ?  

This past weekend, SB and I put on our funky hats, crammed a few dollar bills in our pockets, made a decadent dessert and headed out to Mary and Bill's place for a Kentucky Derby Party. We were greeted at the door with the soft instrumental strains of 'My Old Kentucky Home', handed a mint julep, introduced around to new friends and urged to greet 'the old regulars'. Then, things got seriously fun!

An Old Southern Ballad - No So Politically Correct But A Classic None the Less

Mary and Bill are practiced at 'The Derby Party'. This is an annual celebration that they have hosted for the past few years. There are always the standards - pulled pork and deep-fried turkey for sandwiches. Mary makes the pork and Bill deals with the turkey. They have a huge buffet table all ready, on which guests place their appetizers and side dishes. Mary's 'posse of ladies' help to move the appetizers around the party, as they encourage folks to 'place your bets'. There is much admiring of hats and replenishing of drinks, photo ops, and laughing. Newbies are shown the betting window over near the kitchen entrance and there is always active debate on what horse is favored and what names are neat, whose silks are lovely, what the track conditions are looking like - like we're all practiced horse folk or something! Meanwhile, the buffet takes form and we careen toward post time.

Bill - Toasting the Day

Bill manages the wide-screen television, which is tuned to the sports station that's doing the best job of televising and interviewing the celebrities, horse owners, jockeys, and trackside fashionistas. The guys all joke about their hats and cadge snacks as the ladies pass through. And then, it's post time! This year, there were singers in the crowd and as the words to 'My Old Kentucky Home' scrolled across the screen, we all sang - really sang - with people paying attention to harmony and melody and others standing quietly listening and occasionally quietly marveling at how good it sounded! Ha! Talk about a magic moment!

Mary, did you embellish that hat yourself? You bet I did!

Mary hollered that 'the window is closed!' and the horses and jockeys were at the post ... and off! Imagine spirited shouting and cheers and then there was a lucky winner! Yup ... SB was the only person to have bet on Orb and so he took away a sizeable roll of money with a huge grin. My horse, Golden Soul came in second - a lucky guess (I always bet on the name!), but alas there are no prizes for the 'place' and 'show' horses and that's just fine!

SB - The Big Winner 

The group picture taking went on for a good while, and then, we all converged on the buffet and settled down to relaxed socializing and 'townie talk'. Everyone agreed that the food was the best ever, pledged not to eat one more bite and then cadged a nibble of dessert or one more strip of turkey or pork, just a bit more of the curry or gratin, another mini-whoopie pie. The sun went down over the old Yankee hill and we were still humming about Kentucky and enjoying the company. There ought to be more weekends like last weekend, darn it!

Here's a traditional dessert served at one of the inns near Churchill Downs at Derby time. I did a bit of research on it and found that the recipe has been copied over the years, as it is such a popular pie - it's kind of like a pecan pie, but with added chocolate and Kentucky Bourbon and fewer eggs. The whipped cream topping is sweetened with brown sugar and a bit more bourbon - decadent and really richly delicious! It keeps well for a couple days, but it's at its best when warm from the oven . I used pecans instead of walnuts, as that seemed more authentically southern, but many of the recipes I found call for walnuts.  There were crumbs in the pie plate at the end of the night and the last bit of bourbon whipped cream went into my coffee the next morning. It was really good!

A second pie made for posting to the blog - we need to invite in folks for coffee and dessert!

Anyway, it's worthy of your next big party ... enjoy!

 Susan’s Kentucky Derby Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Makes 2 one-crust pies


One pie crust recipe, chilled

1 c. flour
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 sticks (1 c) butter, melted
4 tbsp. good quality Kentucky bourbon whiskey
2 c. toasted pecans, reserve 20 whole halves for decorating the tops of the pies
2 c. dark chocolate chips
½ c. milk chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Four pinches salt

Making the Pies:

  1. Make your favorite pie crust recipe. Divide the dough ball in half, wrap and chill each while you make the pie filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F and place the rack in the center of the oven.
  3. Whisk together the flour and sugar.
  4. Melt the butter and cool it a bit.
  5. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.
  6. Add the semi-cooled butter and eggs to the dry ingredients. Stir to make a thick batter.
  7. Add the bourbon, vanilla, and salt, stirring well.
  8. Toast the nuts and set aside the decorative halves. Chop the rest and turn them and the chocolate chips into the batter.
  9. Fold everything together.
  10. Roll out the pie crusts and place them in 9-inch pie plates. Trim the excess crust from the edges, gently roll the raw edge back under and crimp in a pretty design.
  11. Turn the batter into the pie shells.
  12. Place the pecan halves in a pretty central design.
  13. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes.
  14. Place the baked pies on a rack to cool slightly … serve warm with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream for the best experience.

Bourbon Whipped Cream


1 c. heavy cream, chilled
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Whip everything together and chill in a pretty bowl. Serve with Kentucky Derby Pie.


  1. ooooh! Look at YOU and Look at your hat... but ost importantly, LOOOOK at the PIE... i'm in love!

  2. OOOOOHHH!!!! You look just fantastic and so does your hat and so does your pie. I love and you guys are a hoot...you always make me smile and chuckle Susan. Big hugs coming your way - please always stay this fun!!!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  3. It sounds a little like the Toll House Pie I make. Gorgeous and delicious. You guys have a lot of fun.

  4. The Derby pie looks awesome and the hat is cute!

  5. Oh what fun! Don't you love being silly, I know I do!!! Love this post!!!


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