Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle Pie

When I was but a wee child, every year my Dad and I could be found sitting close to the television, cheering manically on the first Saturday in May: Kentucky Derby Day, the first race in the elusive Triple Crown.

It should come as no surprise that I love a festive occasion and to me, there is nothing more festive then The Running of the Roses. Big Hats, fancy ponies, and BOURBON. How could that be bad? I’m especially drawn to The Derby because I happen to love ponies. They have a special place in my heart and so does The Derby; it was something special that Daddy and I did and something that we still look forward to today, even if we don’t get to watch it together. So for me, this pie is a bit sentimental. I’m a sentimental fool.

What makes the Kentucky Derby Pie unique is the fact that it contains bourbon. Bourbon, one of the key ingredients in a mint julep, the official drink of The Derby, is something that I’ve never used in baking before but I will certainly be using again. I was worried that the bourbon might overwhelm the taste of the pie because just in opening the bottle, I was blown away from the strength of the liquer. However, despite my worry, the bourbon actually adds a nice depth of flavor to the pie that’s not at all overpowering.

Here’s a little hot tip for y’all…when using corn syrup, try spraying the measuring device with a nonstick spray. Corn syrup is sticky icky and can be a real devious ingredient to coax out of the cup but with the spray, the syrup slips out a great deal easier then without.

The fun thing about this pie is the transformation it makes during baking. When you slip the pie in the oven, it is nice and creamy and just everso speckled with chocolate chips and walnuts. When it comes out of the oven, the pie has a lovely chocolate-colored crust. So don’t fret when you check your pie and find it’s changed its color, it’s all good my friends.

This is the first official pie recipe for Baking Vintage and I have to admit a little something to y’all — I didn’t make the crust. I have been searching through my retro library for a good crust recipe and I just haven’t found one yet. I want to stay away from shortening and yet that’s all I see. I need to do some testing. Collin Murray needs to eat some pie. And then, then I will post a perfect pie crust. Until then, use your favorite crust or stroll down the frozen baked good section at your supermarket and don’t feel guilty.

Though this pie is a departure for me baking wise, I like to think of it like a pecan pie with a touch of Churchill Downs and I promise you will not be disappointed by the pie’s result — as for tomorrow’s race, I’m not placing any bets…

Kentucky Derby Pie (adapted hardly at all from the Sherman Service League Celebrates)

Makes one 9-inch pie

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

¾ cup light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup milk chocolate chips

½ cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon

9-inch unbaked frozen pie shell

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Thaw pie shell according to the boxed directions, remembering not to feel guilt in using a pre-made pie crust.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the corn syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well. Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips, nuts and bourbon.

Pour mixture into thawed pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The centre of the pie will still seem slightly loose but as it cools completely, it will firm up. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or without. Enjoy.

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