Dish of the Week: Derby-Style Pie

It’ll be the fastest two-minutes in pie eating.
It’ll be the fastest two-minutes in pie eating. Photo by Edsel Little
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, with “The Run for the Roses” around the corner, we’re sharing a recipe for Derby-Style Pie.

Created in 1950 by George Kern and his parents for their restaurant in Prospect, Kentucky, the original (and trademarked) Derby Pie is known for its signature blend of chocolate and walnuts. Thanks to its name, the pie has become a party food associated with the Kentucky Derby — which is probably why today’s versions often incorporate bourbon, which was not a part of the original recipe. Neither were pecans, which are often substituted for the walnuts.

Though those who make their own version of the pie and try to hawk it as “Derby Pie” should beware, the aforementioned trademark was filed by Kern's Kitchen in 1968. And the Kerns are not scared of sending out cease-and-desist letters to protect the “derby pie” from becoming the next ‘zipper” (because once the name becomes a generic term, it loses its trademark).

Alas, we think bourbon is awesome, so this not-so-true-the-original Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie, from Food Network Magazine, fits the bill for our Derby party quite nicely

Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

Ingredients yields 8 to 10 servings
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the filling:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Make the crust: Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the shortening and pulse until it looks like cornmeal. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon ice water; pulse until the dough starts coming together but is still crumbly, adding 1 more tablespoon of ice water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; shape into a disk and wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Put a baking sheet on the middle oven rack and preheat to 425 degrees F. Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling:
Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, bourbon, vanilla, salt, walnuts and chocolate chips in a large bowl until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust. Carefully place the pie plate on the hot baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is set around the edge but slightly jiggly in the center, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, 3 to 4 hours.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano