A Race Day Favorite – Kentucky

Time to bust out your fancy hats, snappy suits and dresses, it’s Kentucky Derby season! Folks in Louisville (say it right, “Lew-a-vul”) have some menu favorites that will be part of the festivities – among them, mint juleps, Hot Browns (hot turkey club sandwiches with Mornay sauce), rolled oysters, and those little fancy cucumber sandwiches that are cut oh-so elegantly. The sweet finale often is a chocolate chip pecan pie flavored with a bit of Kentucky bourbon.

KY Bourbon Pie.017 sign

It’s a definite crowd-pleaser when topped with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of creamy vanilla. The recipe below is similar to the famous pie created at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Ky., but when the horses get ready to run, many celebrants bring out their own personalized versions.

If you’re headed to Louisville and have some extra time, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers tours of eight different bourbon distilleries. Just make sure to have a designated driver!

Bourbon Pecan Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For filling:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped


For crust: Place all ingredients except water in food processor and blend until fine crumbs are formed. Add water a little at a time until the dough is moist and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use. (Can be made a day ahead.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out crust. Finish crust edge by fluting or press with fork tines. Place in oven for 8 minutes until just starting to brown. Remove and let cool completely.

For filling:  Increase oven to 450 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs, flour, salt and bourbon. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Stir well. Pour into partially baked pie shell and bake for 30 minutes or until center is set.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.