Diary Of A Comfort Foodie: Derby Pie

Thursday, May 3, 2012 - by Kent Whitaker
- photo by Kern’s Kitchen

The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner! Two things happen in my family when Derby weekend approaches. First, my wife Ally starts her search for the perfect Kentucky Derby Hat. This year the hunt started between New Years day and Easter. Secondly, my mom starts talking about Derby Pie. Actually, with my family a Derby Pie conversation can pop up any time of year.

I was born in Louisville Kentucky so the Derby comes naturally to me. Its pageantry, sports, tradition and Southern Charm combined with NASCAR style tailgating, cold beverages and city wide block parties. Food is a natural ingredient to any Derby Day celebration.

Since Ally has her Derby hat covered I’ll move onto updating your Derby Dessert knowledge.

Derby Pie is a registered trademark!

Jessie Oswald, of www.louisville.com has written several great articles about the origins of the Derby Pie, and how the Kern's family perfected the recipe while they owned the Melrose Inn. When they sold the Inn they continued to make the pie for select customers and the business continued to grow. Once perfected Kern’s Kitchen and the Kern’s family locked up rights to the name with federal trademark protection and the actual recipe is top secret! Here’s a tidbit of trivia on how the Kern's family decided on a name. According to Oswald’s articles the Kern family members all had different ideas on what the new pie should be named. To settle things everyone agreed to write down a name and place the pieces of paper in a hat.  Guess what? Derby Pie was the winner.

Pecans? Nope  - Walnuts!

Did you know that a “traditional” Derby Pie uses walnuts instead of pecans? Sure, many people substitute nuts when they make their versions. There is nothing wrong with that. If you meet a purest and offer up a slice of Pecan based Derby Pie and they seem to have a problem with it… then take the pie back!

Pies - by the Numbers.

According to Jessie Oswald Kern’s Kitchen produces between 120,000-130,000 pies each year and one man, Production Mgr./Baker JB Keahey, bakes them all! That is amazing and shows how secret the recipe is. The dessert is most popular during the weeks surrounding the Kentucky Derby. Here are some more numbers; 1,892 sheets of Derby Pie are produced solely for use by Churchill Downs and 25,000 slices are served on Derby Day alone.

Since the Kern's Kitchen Derby Pie is a secret recipe people like me have been taking guesses at it for a long time. No one can match the taste of the original. However, there are some pretty darned good versions out there. Most often cooks substitute pecans for walnuts and Whiskey for Bourbon, even though this is frowned upon by many people from Kentucky and almost all horses in the state. Below is a recipe that will make a nice Chocolate & Walnut pie that will be a great addition to your Derby party since it would be hard to order one in time now.

For the official bakery and home of the Derby Pie check out www.derbypie.com . You can order a pie and find a distributor near you. This way you can be ready for next years Derby. Note - The photo shows an official Derby Pie from Kern's Kitchen, not the Chocolate & Walnut Pie recipe below.

 Chocolate & Walnut Pie

1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup melted butter

2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 ready-made piecrust

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and butter; mix to combine. Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing. 

Recipe by John Mitzewich.

Kent "The Deck Chef" Whitaker

Culinary books worth reading. Visit Kent online at www.thedeckchef.com or follow on twitter twitter.com/theKentWhitaker


Logan's Roadhouse Distributes Rolls To 1st Responders And Businesses

Logan’s Roadhouse is getting the season of giving on a “roll” by distributing their yeast rolls to first responders and local businesses in Chattanooga. Stops included: Michelle Replogle and Sergeant Patrick Hubbard at the Chattanooga Police Department ; James Palmer, Matt Long and Jonathon Dills at Station 20; and Eric Foster and Magic ... (click for more)

Tremont Tavern Celebrates 10 Years In North Chattanooga

North Chattanooga's Tremont Tavern marks its 10 year anniversary on Dec. 9 and 10. The two-day celebration will feature live music, beer and food specials along with door prizes. Mike McDade, Gabriel Newell and Jordan Hallquist and The Outfit will kick the party off on Friday. The anniversary celebration will continue on Saturday with live music from BJ Hightower, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Members Of Congress Urge President To Approve Federal Disaster Assistance For Tennessee Counties

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation on Saturday urged President Obama to quickly approve Governor Haslam’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee to help five Tennessee counties impacted by wildfires and severe weather in November rebuild and recover. “Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual ... (click for more)

Grohn Says Integrity And Ethics Lacking In Berke Administration

Mayoral candidate Larry Grohn criticized controversies and instability coming from the mayor’s administration as a sign of unethical leadership and a lack of integrity. He said, "These scandals lay out the simple fact that it is time for new leadership which is accountable to the people." Councilman Grohn’s criticism comes after the independent auditor’s release of a memorandum ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: John Glenn’s ‘Hero’

When John Glenn became the first man to orbit earth, the timing was perfect. I was 13 years old at the time, in need of a hero, and I latched on to the astronaut tighter than a tick. All of us boys knew he’d flown 150 missions in fighters in World War II and Korea and, believe me, he was “The Right Stuff” long before the great movie about the Mercy 7 daredevils came out about 30 ... (click for more)