It's thrilling. It's interesting. It's obnoxious.
It's the Kentucky Derby.
And it's called "the best two minutes in sports."
Just because I bake all the time and talk about pie crust, cookies, brownies and frosting layer cakes doesn't mean I don't know a thing or two about sports. Granted, I don't know much about the Kentucky Derby, but I do know this: it is not, in any world, the best two minutes in sports. We don't have to get into my athletic history, but if it helps my case, I'll have you know: I ran Division I Track in college and all through high school, so with that said, has anyone ever watched a 4x400 relay? Or a distance medley relay? Or the final 2 minutes of a steeplechase? Anyone? Is the Kentucky Derby still the best 2 minutes in sports?
But what about that time I played soccer in 4th grade and got decked by a girl about 3 times my size who then proceeded to fall on top of me and shatter my lateral epicondyle? And then I forgot about the whole "stay on the field and wait for the game to pause if you're injured" procedure, so I stood up and sprinted over to the bench cradling my arm and bawling?
Is the Kentucky Derby still the best two minutes in sports?
Consider this: a synchronized swimming duet. A Beatles song. 8-year-old me, in a navy leotard with a sequined piano running down the center of it and a hair scrunchie coated in glue. The first half of the routine is flawless, and then, suddenly, I can't remember. My partner continues, and I glance down the far end of the pool to see her flapping and twirling and kicking, while I calmly and silently tread water directly in front of the judges. I am smiling. And then I am crying. It feels like hours. But I continue this way -- "sculling" and smiling and crying -- until my partner flaps her way back to me, and I remember the end of the routine and finish it with her, tears and all.
It was traumatic. But now, surely, you cannot tell me the Kentucky Derby is the best two minutes in sports. The best part about it is the mint julep and the derby pie. Thank you, Kentucky, for these wonderful gifts. No, you can keep those hideous hats.
If you haven't ever had derby pie, you're in for a treat. It's a chocolate pecan pie with a shot of bourbon thrown in, and it is out of this world. I paired the filling with my shortening & butter pie crust, but you're welcome to use your favorite crust -- as long as it isn't from the frozen section at the grocery store. Please... don't let it be from the frozen section at the grocery store. There are two wonderful crust recipes on this blog, and you should not be intimidated to try one! Homemade crust makes all the difference with a homemade pie. Trust me.
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
4 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp bourbon, I used Bulleit
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup pecan chips
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for crust
After your dough disc has chilled and come back to room temperature to roll, roll the disc into a 12-inch round on a lightly-floured surface, using 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Gently roll the round onto your rolling pin, and unroll into your pie dish. Trim edges and crimp decoratively. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs in an even layer on top of the dough -- this creates a layer between the crust and the filling, which helps avoid a soggy bottom. Let the crust chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugars, corn syrup, flour, butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt on low speed until well-combined and lump-free, about 4 minutes.
Pour in chocolate chips, chopped pecans and pecan chips, and mix until evenly distributed. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour in the filling -- do this slowly, the filling will reach the rim of the dish -- and use a spatula to spread chocolate chips and pecans evenly through the filling, if needed. Brush the crust edges with the egg wash.
Place a baking sheet on the rack under the pie, and bake the pie for 55-60 minutes, or until the pie is set around the edges and still slightly wobbly in the center. Tent crust with aluminum foil if the crust is browning too quickly.
Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving.