Kentucky Derby Pies

6 May

I agreed to bring dessert for Sunday’s Kentucky Derby Party at a friend’s house. I recalled a Derby Pie made by a Louisville native in an anthropology class a decade ago. The assignment was to bring food from your part of America. Her Derby Pie killed my Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake. As I researched Derby Pie, I learned that the original “Derby Pie” recipe  is a closely guarded secret, and the name can only be applied to this specific incarnation. However, there are many variations, and recipes for nut-and-chocolate-Kentucky pie abound. I found my recipe on, which directed me to I picked the recipe that called for the most bourbon.

Kentucky Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Pie

And because anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I decided to make a second pie. I got some frozen blueberries at the grocery store and decided to riff on the fresh strawberry pie I made a few weeks ago. While I always prefer fresh, organic fruit from the Farmer’s Market, frozen is actually the next best substitute. Fruit (and vegetables) destined for the freezer section are picked at the peak of their freshness and frozen immediately (unlike “fresh” produce which is picked too early then shipped). This means the produce tastes better and has more vitamins and minerals, because it has had time to properly develop and ripen.

Using a recipe from the Good Food radio show, I simply substituted the blueberries for strawberries. For the strawberry pie, I used a crumb crust, but for this I made a butter-pastry crust, which is the same one I used for the Kentucky pie. The small twist on the blueberry pie was adding a pinch of cinnamon and ancho chili powder to the vanilla bean in the recipe.  The key here is to add subtle complexity without actually tasting the chili or cinnamon.

Laura's Blueberry Pie



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