“Not Derby Pie.”
“Not Derby Pie?”
“Well if it’s not Derby Pie, then what is it?” and, after a moment’s hesitation, “what is Derby Pie, anyway?”
My mother laughed, as she often does — then told me to just try it already.
The backstory: Derby Pie® is the exclusive product (and name) of Kern’s Kitchen. According to their website, “Derby Pie® was born nearly a half century ago as the specialty pastry of the Melrose Inn, at Prospect, Kentucky. Once developed, a proper name had to be given. Because each family member had a favorite, the name DERBY-PIE® was actually pulled from a hat.” While I’ve never had the original, the concept of the pie is genius. A deep-dish pie shell is sprinkled generously with chocolate chips, then loaded to the top with nutty nougat filling and baked just until set. What more can a pie-lover want?
In 1982, in an article by Phyllis Richman profiling Kern’s Kitchen, The Washington Post featured a recipe for Not Derby Pie. My mom took hold of this recipe and never let go — she made it very often and it was an instant hit among friends. Admittedly, I was a nut-hater at the time, and the pie didn’t much strike my fancy. I did, however, manage to eat the entire bottom layer of two slices and pick through the nougat a bit before calling it quits. Once I discovered how fantastic nuts are, this pie quickly climbed high on my favorites list. It’s one of my go-to recipes for Friday night dinner parties, and an unfailing success.
1 pie crust or graham cracker crust
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped or ground walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour; mix until ingredients are incorporated.
2. Melt butter, and allow it to cool a bit; pour butter into mixed ingredients very slowly. Mix to combine. Add nuts and stir just until incorporated.
3. Sprinkle chips into the bottom of the pie crust. Pour mixture over.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
…really, that’s it.