Kentucky Derby Pie.

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This was my Thanksgiving night cap. A few minutes before midnight rolls around, and the I’ve-stuffed-myself-to-the-brim-can’t-put-another-bite-in-mouth feeling is just wearing off. And let me tell you, while I was eating my Thanksgiving dinner, I was nearing the end with a panic.I hadn’t had pie yet.

Full belly of amazing food, & there was no pie in my body yet. Crime, crime, crime. I just couldn’t do it though. I stayed up just to make certain that I had pie on actual Thanksgiving. I couldn’t bear the thought of it passing without it! I wouldn’t be being true to my roots. Those roots that have, since I was a wee girl, made over a dozen pies with my Memaw every night before Thanksgiving. Pecan, pecan chocolate, pumpkin, apple, coconut cream, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cream, & whatever other variation my Memaw had discovered a recipe for. We would stay up & bake, TV on in the background & eating butter pecan ice cream out of mugs.

I wish I could produce the amazing childhood snapshots that are burned in my brain & share them with you all. They are quite precious. I was quite the awkward child, & my Memaw was always beautiful.

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The first time I had this pie, I was coordinating a wedding in a small town near Springfield that was known for it’s beautiful surroundings & haunted hotels (interested peaked?). At first bite, I was entirely smitten. Warning, this pie is . . . rich. Decadent. Supremely intriguing because you are all of a sudden acutely aware this flavor might lodge itself in your brain for good. Guaranteed.
Taking medium grind cornmeal to fine grind with a mortar & pestal, & extra love & effort.
Press-in pie crust, with a side of extra crust to make wee pie.
Chopped pecans, anxiously awaiting the partnership with chocolate & bourbon.
Yes, bourbon. Hallelujah & amen.I discovered recently that bourbon is only bourbon if it is distilled in Kentucky. If someone tells you they are drinking Tennessee bourbon, slap them upside the head, give them the what for, then tell them they are drinking whiskey.

Actually don’t do that. This is the season of kindness, folks. Maybe just share your Kentucky bourbon & let them see the light.

Prepped & ready for oven time. Gorgeous oven mitt, courtesy of Hannah, my dear dreaded friend from Boston.Baked & singing songs of glory.
(The pie, not Hannah. She doesn’t get baked, but does on occasion sing songs of glory.)

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Macchiatos in Paris.
No bigs. 😉
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This pie is an experience. I am a firm believer that food should be an experience. We don’t eat simply for sustenance; we eat to experience a flavor, taste, or portion of life. I know, we all have to eat to keep on living, but allowing what you eat to become more than that can be a beautiful thing. It can create an experience, transport you to a place, or remind you or a time or person in your life.Parts of the world wrapped in flavor. Even future experiences can be summed up in a bite.

That is, if we allow it to take us there.

Kentucky Derby Pie
yields: one 9-inch pie
1 9-inch pie crust (I used Joy the Baker’s Easy No-Roll pie crust, & it turned out simply divine! You could also used your favorite pie crust recipe. Just don’t buy a crust from the store. It’s just . . . ya. Don’t do it. Thanks.)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Follow directions for your chosen pie crust recipe accordingly.

Side note: I also baked my no-roll pie crust for about 8 minutes with foil & beans/weights, and 4 minutes without foil & beans, to ensure that the crust wouldn’t be dough. Better safe then sorry. Ok. Proceed . . . 

Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust; set aside.

Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, & bourbon in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs, melted butter, cornmeal, vanilla, & salt. Gradually whisk about one-fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 325° for 50-55 minutes or until set. If you feel like the top is getting a bit too brown for your taste (this usually happens about 40-45 minutes in), you can loosely place a piece of foil over the top.

Cool on wire rack.

You can serve this warm, room temperature, chilled, whatever.
Slightly warmed with a dollop of whipped bourbon cream & a brief dash of cinnamon might fit this bill perfectly for this lady. Yum. Enjoy your experience, folks.

Source: adapted from Southern Living
Listening to: Ray Lamon

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