derby pie

Derby pie (chocolate pecans & bourbon oh my)

23 November 2010

It’s not too late for you to make this crunchy, gooey, chocolatey pie for Thanksgiving. Just buy a pie crust, and the rest is piece of cake…er, pie. Every December my extended in-laws celebrate the delivery of derby pie from their friend Libbie. And each year they jostle over every last crumb.

Pie crusts are tricky, but fillings are easy. With a pre-made crust, you can mix the filling and have this in the oven in no time. Any pie masters out there (my hats off to you) can skip down a few pictures.

I still feel a pang of guilt when I buy a pie crust – like everything at the supermarket, premade crusts have junk that you wouldn’t put in at home. But my lifetime of pie crusts have been 80% tough, 20% mediocre and 100% frustrating. So I’ve decided it’s better for everyone if I just buy the blasted crust. Some occasions just call for pie, and a premade crust with homemade filling still beats the socks off a premade pie.

I try to find a high quality pie crust without hydrogenated oils. Some pie crusts are pre-formed in a foil pan and found in the frozen section; others are a folded round of pastry that you unfold and place in your own pie pan (may be refrigerated or frozen at the store). This frozen pastry dough is from Trader Joe’s.

Don’t worry if it’s cracked in parts – we’ll fix it like Play-Doh. Turn dough into pan.

And peel off plastic.

Repair any cracks by pressing dough together, and crimp edges any way you like.

Now to the filling. Chop some pecans (or buy chopped pecans).

Two eggs in a bowl (darn, broke a yolk…no retakes here).

Sugar, vanilla, bourbon, corn syrup. If you can find cane syrup (Steen’s or otherwise), you could substitute for corn syrup. I tried but couldn’t find it here in Ohio. Also, if you don’t have bourbon or another whiskey, you can also try kahlua (it won’t be derby pie, but it will still be delicious).

I added the chocolate chips and pecans together. Next time I’d sprinkle the chocolate chips in the pie pan and pour the filling mix over.

Last, melted butter.

Ready for the pan.

I had to redistribute the chocolate chips around. Having them in the pan first will make this easier next time.

Ready for oven.

Cool before serving so that filling has time to set.

Ready to impress the holiday crowd with your pie prowess? You can use the Kentucky Derby as an excuse to make it again in May.

Derby pie
A chopped pecan “crust” atop a gooey, chocolatey filling. Try this crowd-pleasing alternative to pecan pie for the holidays, and use the Kentucky Derby as an excuse to have it again in May. Thanks to my kind neighbor Libbie for sharing this wonderful recipe. She’s been making a pie for my in-laws every Christmas for years, and the whole family jostles for every last crumb.


  • Single crust for one 9″ pie
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter


  1. Arrange pie dough in 9″ pie pan, crimping edges around. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly in the pan.
  2. Melt butter. Set aside to cool.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add white and brown sugars and flour. Mix well.
  4. Add corn syrup, vanilla, bourbon and melted butter. Mix well.
  5. Add pecans and stir. Pour into prepared pie pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.


  • Cane syrup (such as Steen’s) could substitute for corn syrup here.
  • Kahlua could also work in place of bourbon or whisky. Just don’t call it a derby pie.
  • If you like it more nutty, also works well with double the pecans (1 cup).

Here’s the link to a printable version: Derby pie recipe for printing.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

PK 23 November 2010 at 11:17 am

My family is the recipient of derby pie made by Libbie!!! She has been bringing it for years and we LOVE it. I highly recommend that you try it.

We also are happy to be the in-laws of the author of “Chinese Grandma”! Dinner at her home is very special and we certainly enjoy the family fun along with scrumptious meals.


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