Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chocolate Burbon Pecan Pie and Kentucky Derby

It's the time of a year again. It comes so quickly every time that I don't have enough time to plan ahead and go to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Day . When I realized that May is on the corner, it was way too late to book the trip, and get decent derby tickets without spending a fortune.

It's not the same but I decided to have a small Derby Party on that Saturday. I don't want to make a whole dinner thing, since the derby is during the day,but I want to have something to eat. I decided on a signature derby drink, couple of appetizers, and a dessert. Dessert is a must. While researching for inspiration I found this great recipe for a Chocolate Burbon Pecan Pie, also known as a Derby Pie. This recipe takes a pecan pie and adds intense chocolate and burbon flavor. It's quick ans fairly easy o make. Use store bought pie crust to make it even easier.

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
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 or water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Fit pie crust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of pie crust; set aside.

Combine corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk about one-fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set, cool on wire rack.

The signature Derby drink would be a Classic Mint Julep. On the Derby day, as "My Old Kentucky Home" plays before the race, julep cups are raised high, bringing tears to many eyes. To Kentuckians, a mint julep is more than a drink, it's a cup of emotion, full of tradition. The classic version is served in silver julep cups. These are filled to the rim with a refreshing concoction of the finest bourbon, simple syrup, fresh mint, and crushed ice.

5 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon simple syrup or mint simple syrup
Crushed ice
1 1/2 to 2 TBS or 1 ounce of bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)

Place mint leaves and Simple Syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of spoon to release flavors. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice, pour bourbon over ice. Insert straw, place mint sprig directly next to straw, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

{Photos and recipes courtesy of Southern Living Magazine}

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