Saturday, May 5, 2012

Race for the Roses Pie & Mint Juleps

Today is the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs--"the greatest two minutes in sports!" and right after I come home from a knitting class, I'll be in front of the television to view it (on my DVR).  I will also remember Kelly's first Derby that she celebrated after moving to Kentucky.  They were having a few people over and she was baking a special type of pecan pie infused with Kentucky bourbon and chocolate for dessert.  The Derby Pie is a registered trademark by The Melrose Inn, who first developed it and I'm particularly careful not to infringe upon their name or their recipe that has been kept a secret since 1968.  So, I've come up with a name synonymous with my love of flowers and the glorious blanket of roses that is draped on the horse that wins--Race for the Roses Pie.
Kelly and Matt's Kentucky boy, Ari in his "silks" getting ready for a race at Keeneland in Lexington, KY

Admittedly, I've watch the movie Secretariat about a hundred times!  I remember that race most vividly in 1973 with our daughters, Erin, almost 3 years old and Kelly, just shy 7 months, as we all watched this amazing horse come from behind to win the Kentucky Derby--the first in the Triple Crown.  I also admire his owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy, who was told she wouldn't be able to come up with the money to keep Big Red and her family's farm in Virginia in order to race him.  She proved them all wrong with her strength (and maybe a little stubbornness) and it's her example that I follow getting through these last two years since losing our daughter to breast cancer.

Race for the Roses Pie
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Vanilla powder (optional)
2 T Kentucky Bourbon
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup Pecan halves

1 - 9" pie crust (you can use my recipe for Perfect Pie Dough or your favorite)  
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Roll out pie dough and fit into a 9-inch pie plate, flute edges.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a wire whisk.  Add the sugar, Karo syrup, vanilla and bourbon and whisk again to incorporate.  Stir in the melted butter, then, add the chocolate chips and pecans.

Pour into the prepared pie shell.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and set.  If the edges start to darken, place a crust shield over it.  (You can also cover with strips of aluminum foil).

Let cool completely.  Add a dollop of whipped cream on top to serve.

Classic Mint Julep
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Place these ingredients into a small sauce pan, stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a med/low and place a lid over the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, pick about 1 cup of mint leaves from the garden.  Wash thoroughly and dry.  

Place leaves in the bottom of a large mason jar and "muddle" them by using the handle of a wooden spoon or a tart tamper.  Add the simple syrup to the mint and seal.  Refrigerate 10 to 12 hours or even overnight.

Strain syrup.

Fill a julep glass or silver cup (about 6 to 8 ounces) with crushed ice
Add 1 T of the "minty" simple syrup to the glass
Add 1 oz. Kentucky Bourbon

Garnish with a mint leaf (if desired) and serve.

Sans the big hat, I'm going to enjoy this Kentucky Derby with a wonderful dessert and julep on my sofa, but wishing I was in Kentucky with family and friends cheering on the winning horse.  By the way, this pie is so good, I think "I'll Have Another!"  Enjoy!



  1. Hello Susan...your pie today, brings back so many memories. When my children were growing up, my pecan pies were expected at every family celebration. When the men in our family went deer hunting, they expected two pecan pies from me. The chocolate is a wonderful addition.

    1. It was delicious and yes, the chocolate is a wonderful addition <3

  2. a lovely post susan, i'm glad you have so many good memories to comfort you. i think my husband would love this pie, so i will try to make it (when we return from our trip), but i think i will be happy with a nice glass of whiskey. :)

    1. Honestly, I'm a light=weight when it comes to alcohol, but the mint was so refreshing and after the week I've had, it somehow made it a little better. Have a safe trip and I can't wait to see all your photos when you returned. XOXO

  3. Another wonderful receipe Susan. As I am getting to know you I admire your philosophy and talent. The pie looks quite delicious and the mint julep to top it off is over the moon.
    Martha Ellen

    1. Thank you Martha Ellen. We love pecan pie and this was over the top! And, if you grow fresh mint, the julep is the perfect drink to go with it;-D

  4. Your memories are wonderful! And I agree, Penny Tweedy's determination, as a woman, is very inspiring!

  5. OK, Mom says you had Bourbon in your house and didn't share when you were there! HE HE HE! And you really do have every type of kitchen gadget - A PIE CRUST SHIELD?

    We can't wait to try the Run for the Roses Pie. How yummy! And now we finally have a recipe for all the mint Mom is growing - she is growning an Apple Mint and will have to get another type or two...YUMM...although...

    I heard Mom tell Dad a story - when she was a little kid she thought all Mint was sweet and so..she grabbed a big handful and just popped it in her mouth. According to my Grandma, Mom was tasting mint for days....HE HE HE!!!!

    Thanks for sharing! xoxo Cashie