Derby Pie from Grill 23 Pastry Chef Valerie Nin

Valerie Nin

The Kentucky Derby, coming up on Saturday, May 6th, may be over and done in about two minutes but you can savor the flavor of pastry chef Valerie Nin‘s Derby Pie for a bit longer. A native of Cincinnati (which is right on the Kentucky border), the Grill 23 & Bar pastry chef tweaks a recipe inspired by her mom’s and adds a generous dash of Kentucky bourbon for an extra bit of southern charm.


Yields: 1 pie


  • 1 1/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (if you use table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons of Kentucky bourbon
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 pie unbaked pie shell, 9-inch


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Toast the pecan halves for ten minutes. Let them cool, then roughly chop and set aside. Set oven for 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and bourbon.
  3. Add in the slightly beaten eggs and blend well; stir in the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Cool and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

You may also be interested in