- 1. I love this recipe, and it was probably one of the first times on the blog I said, “Forget trying to be perfect all the time and show people some DESSERT!” (and alcohol?).
- No one commented on it last year, because no one read my blog last year. [Except for perhaps my mom...and my "blog mom." ] So probably this is all new to y’all.
- If you follow me on twitter (or e-mail me on the regular*), you know I’m actually not in Austin right now…but have returned to the south for my cousin’s wedding, so blogging has to take a bit of a back seat for the moment. [I'll catch up later.] *Who am I and why did I say that?
It’s Kentucky Derby Day! Perhaps you are somewhere fun, drinking mint juleps and wearing a big hat while getting ready to sing “My Old Kentucky Home” and watch (or not watch…I don’t really ever remember paying much attention to the horses at any of the races I’ve been to) a future Triple Crown winner stride to victory.
I actually got to visit Churchill Downs this past summer, on a stop to visit my friend Jonathan and his incredibly warm and hospitable family in the middle of my epic solo mid-western road trip.
Although, more exciting was learning how to make mint juleps, and trying my very first one ever!
With the “big event” occurring today, and all of the magazines, talk/radio shows, and cooking websites filled to the brim with discussions of what to wear and what to serve at any Derby Party you might host (or attend), I was feeling lots of internal pressure to make something Kentucky-inspired.
I almost, in defiance, said, “Forget it. I don’t particularly want to make, much less eat, a meaty stew on a beautiful May day” [I am referring to the famous Kentucky Burgoo, of course], and “Frankly, I don’t want to deal with trying to make the perfect cheese sauce for a Hot Brown, even if I DO have leftover re-frozen, frozen roasted turkey* and a beautiful slicing tomato on hand.”
*Turkey that was frozen, then roasted, then re-frozen.
But then I found a frozen pie crust in the freezer, and I knew what I had to do.
“What’s that?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you.
I knew I had to make one of the only two Kentucky-inspired foods I have ever concocted (and it was not going to be the bourbon balls, which were an unmitigated disaster):
Inspired by Derby Pie, which is essentially a Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Pie, but packaged in a cute, little, easily-transportable form, these tarts are always a hit when I make them. (My dad still talks about them…and it was three or four Thanksgivings past that I served them to him for the first time.)
There is no saving, healthy grace about them [seriously, a main ingredient is corn syrup, so you can be sure you aren't on the path to well-being]…but man, they are good…and if you are celebrating a festive occasion, well, you might as well let loose a little bit.
It is a super easy recipe. First, take a store-bought pie crust (why make your own when the filling will be that star?), and unroll it.
You can see mine was struggling from its freezer incarceration, but no matter.
Then, cut out loose circles (and I mean very loose…as in, it really doesn’t matter what shape you make as long as you can cover the bottom of a muffin tin with it)…
…and press them into muffin tins (coated with baking spray) to make a little tart shape.
Again, I reiterate, perfection is NOT important! I even mushed a bunch of the leftover crust pieces together with my hands and made an approximate circle with that.
You just fold over the edges and pinch around to make it work…like when making wonton cups.
Next, take 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup light corn syrup and mix it up. [At this point you can also add 1 tablespoon of bourbon. I did, with the idea that, "When in Kentucky (or celebrating like a Kentuckian?), do as the Kentuckians do!" but the recipe is delicious regardless.]
Add in 1/2 cup pecan pieces [Some can be whole, some can be chopped, it really doesn't matter. I take them straight from the freezer and just break them up a little with my hands.]
….and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
It was at this point I realized I forgot to add the eggs. What is with me and forgetting to add eggs to things?
I thought, “Better late than never!” and just added them in at that moment.
Spoon your batter into the muffin cups (it is very runny). Don’t worry if you have a little overflow.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes! They will come out gooey, rich, and scrumptious.
1 9″ pie crust, unbaked
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Unroll pie crust and cut out 12 loosely-shaped circles/ovals. (Roll up and re-flatten the leftover pieces to maximize its use.)
3. Press dough into muffin tins coated with baking spray.
4. In a large mixing bowl, blend together butter, sugars, corn syrup, bourbon, and eggs, using a hand mixer.
5. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into tart cups.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned.