Kentucky derby pie: Recipe to prepare for the big race

You cannot say that you’ve been to the Kentucky Derby without trying their popular Kentucky Derby Pie. And if you don’t plan on going to the Derby, don’t worry, you can always bring that flavor to your home.

When we are talking about the Kentucky Derby, most people consider luxury, premium ingredients, and Michelin star-worthy dishes. Yes, the event might be prestigious, but that’s not the case with the food.

The food at the Kentucky Derby captures the essence of Southern hospitality and culinary creativity. Most of the dishes were born from the lower class, and now they’ve become so big that they had to trademark some of the names.

Yes, we are talking about the Kentucky Derby Pie, which is a name that is trademarked. So, at this point, you might be wondering, who trademarks a name for a dish? – Well, this heartwarming dessert caught the attention of millions of people due to the Kentucky Derby, and the creators wanted to protect it.

This means that is special, right?

Let’s go through the recipe for the perfect Kentucky Derby pie, and find out how can you recreate the taste without falling into some legal issues. 

What Makes Kentucky Derby Pie Unique?

The Kentucky Derby Pie is distinguished by its blend of crunchy nuts, velvety chocolate chips, and a hint of whiskey, all snuggled in a flaky pie crust. 

It’s just like any other pie but with a twist with the bourbon. The spirit adds depth to the taste and makes it extra special.

The idea is simple. You enjoy a not-so-sweet dessert which is an icon for the Kentucky Derby, while browsing through the live odds and betting favorites on the link below:

Maybe the Kentucky Derby pie will inspire you to pick the right horse that will win the race.

Did you know? George Kern created the first Kentucky Derby Pie recipe in the 1950s at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. After becoming a Derby tradition, the pie’s popularity skyrocketed.

Required Ingredients for the Kentucky Derby Pie

Before we get started, let’s gather the ingredients needed to make your Kentucky Derby Pie a showstopper:

• 1 cup chopped pecans

• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

• 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional but recommended for that authentic Kentucky flavor)

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 large eggs

• 1 unbaked pie crust

Why Bourbon in Kentucky Derby Pie?

Bourbon gives a particular depth of flavor to the pie, complementing the chocolate’s richness and nuttiness of the pecans. It honors Kentucky’s famous bourbon-making legacy.

Fun Fact: Kentucky produces around 95% of the world’s bourbon, making it the birthplace of this beloved American drink. 

How to Make the Kentucky Derby | Pie Step-by-Step Guide

Now since we gathered all the ingredients, let’s focus on the hard part, combining them all together into a delicious pie. Don’t get scared off, it’s not that hard, especially if you buy a pre-made pie crust. 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. 

2. In a mixing dish, add chopped pecans, chocolate chips, flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Mix well to achieve equal dispersion of components. 

3. In a separate dish, combine melted butter, bourbon (optional), vanilla extract, and eggs until combined.

4. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended. 

5. Spread the mixture evenly into the unbaked pie crust. 

6. Bake the pie in a preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the filling has set and the crust is golden brown. 

7. Allow the pie to cool before slicing for a firmer texture. 

Serving Suggestions

If you want to go the extra mile, top your Kentucky Derby Pie with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s the ideal method to improve an already sumptuous dish. 

Pro Tip: Toast the nuts before adding them to the pie filling to increase their taste profile. This gives each mouthful a delicious nuttiness and crunch. 

How to Make a Pie Crust Yourself

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

• 2-4 tablespoons ice water


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. 

2. Add the chilled butter cubes to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces of butter. 

3. Gradually add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, while gently mixing with a fork. Stop adding water once the dough starts to come together. 

4. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill.

5. After chilling, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. 

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter, ensuring it’s large enough to fit your pie dish with some overhang. 

7. Carefully transfer the rolled-out dough to your pie dish, gently pressing it into the bottom and sides. Trim any excess dough from the edges and crimp as desired.

Final Words

As you can see, preparing the ultimate Kentucky Derby pie at home is quite easy and you don’t have to be an expert chef to execute this dish. This is the original recipe for the pie, and there are many different variations.

You can always experiment yourself by adding other ingredients to your preference, but remember, this combination will always remind you of horses running around the track. 

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