Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Derby Pie

OK, it's not the official, trademarked, name-protected Derby Pie (which appears to use walnuts rather than pecans). But what most people mean by Derby Pie is a chocolate-chip, bourbon pecan pie. I could find no one in Columbia making any such thing for the 133rd Run for the Roses. (And wasn’t it a thrilling run! Calvin Borel and Street Sense ride the rail from 19th place and eating dirt to a commanding 1st place win. That was a race!) So I put out a request on the school’s intra-net for anyone who knew where I could go pick up a decent pie. Nothing. But we did get a couple of good recipes.

Here’s the recipe Lizzie used, sent to me by our school nurse, who has heard Lizzie give a keynote and do a Q&A. Small world.

Derby Pie
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie crust (or two 8" crusts)
Combine all ingredients except nuts and chocolate. Mix well and then add the nuts and chocolate. Pour into pie shell and bake on the lowest rack at 375°F until set. (35 to 40 minutes)


Lizzie has made quite a few pies over the years, and we have quite a few pie pans (metal, glass, stone, ceramic) in several sizes. She has not currently found the magical combination of heat and time to make a deep-dish pie (high walls, twice the filling) set up. For now, she either does half the filling in a single crust or all the filling in two crusts.

The co-worker who sent me this recipe notes, “I just use the roll out Pillsbury pie crust in refrigerated section of the grocery store.” It turns out that this is also what Rhudine, one of the best-known bakers on campus, uses when she makes pie (her specialties are cakes). Lizzie made her crust from scratch. I would reduce the amount of salt in the crust to ~3/4 or even 2/3 tsp; it was a very good crust, but a bit salty on first taste. You couldn’t tell at all when the crust hit your tongue with filling, but nibbling on that top edge all by itself was another story.

Lizzie made a double recipe and produced three pies, two 8" and one 10". The 10" pie filling rose more slowly and ended up with more of the fluffed-jelly consistency I’m used to in a Derby Pie or a pecan pie. It also required more time in the oven to set, although the crust was done. So Lizzie's suggestion is:

Make one recipe in a 10" pie crust. Shield the crust and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the shield and bake for another 30-35 (total 50-55 minutes).

All I can say is that the 10" pie was about as good as a pie could be. The 8" pies were tasty as well, but the texture was better with the 10" pie.

I think that next year, we may need to try this with walnuts instead of pecans. Or maybe half each.

Pie Crust
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (but see untested suggestion, above)
  • 2/3 cups Crisco plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vodka (Lizzie added this one Christmas 2011; too little water and you can’t work the dough properly; too much and the crust gets soggy on the bottom; she heard this trick on the radio and it worked well.)
Measure flour into mixing bowl and blend in salt. Cut in shortening until particles are the size of giant peas. Sprinkle with water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until all flour is moist. Gather dough together with fingers so it cleans the bowl. Press firmly into a ball. Roll out or keep in waxed paper in refrigerator until ready to bake.

One last note:

The 10" pie and one of the 8" pies were made in glass pie pans. The other 8" pie was made in a stone pie pan. Lizzie likes the stone pan for things like cornbread, but pie crust always wants to adhere to it. A number of the pieces of pie were damaged coming out of the stone pan. Stick to glass. Or use glass and don’t stick. Or something.

1 comment:

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Sadly, that's Lizze liked the stone pan. Gotta locate another one, thanks to Mrs. Graceful & gravity.

PS: Thanks for the compliment on the "deep dish pie."