Today’s post will be short and sweet. I am knee-deep in nesting mode (hello chalk paint! hello oxyclean! hello rearranging the furniture!), and have set aside this week to prep my kiddos’ rooms as much as possible prior to baby girl arriving. Yes, we’re only 31 weeks into this pregnancy, but when the urge to nest hits, Mama Bird can’t back down, okay? Today we’re talking about these mini derby hand pies just in time for the Kentucky derby. It’s my favorite sporting event of the year, and once you get a taste of this chocolate and bourbon goodness it might end up being yours too.
Brett and I were married on my grandparent’s Kentucky farm the week before the Derby. I keep memories of the day tucked in the corners of my brain like well-loved photographs that I get to revisit over and over again. The ceremony, party, and events leading up to both were far from perfect, but it felt cozy and personal and will forever hold a warm and fuzzy place in my heart.
These derby pie bars remind me of that day. Loaded with chopped nuts and rich chocolate, these bourbon-spiked bars contain all the essence of classic derby pie flavors in each and every bite along with an extra-thick shortbread crust that is really so delicious. Derby pie is the quintessential Kentucky Derby dessert, and those rich flavors always make me think of the bluegrass state and our wedding day.
If you’ve hung around this blog long enough, you probably recall the derby pie bars and derby pie cookies I made in the past. These derby hand pies are another take on the classic race day dessert, and they are a cute and sassy way to level-up just a regular old pie. I love anything that can be served in mini or individual servings, and if you’re planning a Derby Day party (or to celebrate our anniversary?) these would be a fun and cheeky treat to consider serving.
To make them, we start with a pie dough. My favorite flaky pie crust comes together quickly and can be made in advance. Allow the dough to chill for a few hours or overnight and make the filling in the meantime. Just like a pecan pie, brown sugar, corn syrup, nuts, and more simmer on the stove until thick and goopy. We let the filling cool completely so that it stays scoopable and doesn’t squish out the sides of the pie dough.
Roll out your dough as thin as your dare and cut out rounds of dough. Stuff as much filling in between two circles of two as you can and then crimp the edges with a floured fork. After a quick brush of an egg wash, these derby hand pies bake up golden and flaky. To finish them off, we make a simple ganache to spoon on top of each pie and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Delicious, y’all.
I hope you consider cheers-ing to these derby hand pies this weekend. Be sure to check out a few of my other bourbon favorites below to meet all of your baking needs for the weekend’s festivities. Happy Tuesday and Happy Baking!
If you like these derby hand pies you should make:
Derby Hand Pies
These derby hand pies are miniature versions of the classic Kentucky Derby dessert! Give these tiny pies with bourbon, chocolate, and nuts a shot!
- Prep Time: 35
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 14 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the pastry:
- 1–3/4 cups (210 gm) of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1–1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 gm) butter
- 1/3 cup (70 gm) shortening
- 5 tablespoons (approximately) of ice water
For the filling:
- 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
- 2/3 cup (200 gm) corn syrup
- 1/3 cup (40 gm) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1–1/2 cups (170 gm) pecans, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
For the hand pies:
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (60 gm) heavy whipping cream
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Extra pecans, if desired
To prepare the pastry:
- Combine flour, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
- Cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until it is the consistency of a course meal with small, pea-sized chunks of butter throughout. Add water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, tossing gently until pastry comes together in moist clumps. Pat the dough into a round, flat disk. Wrap with Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
To prepare the filling:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and eggs. Stir in the pecans, salt, and bourbon. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to low and keep at a simmer for 10 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl and allow to chill in the fridge until barely scoopable.
To prepare the hand pies:
- Allow the dough to sit out about 5-10 minutes to allow it to become rollable. On a floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to just shy of 1/8”. Make sure to keep your surface under the dough floured so it doesn’t stick! Cut out 2-1/2” rounds of dough using a biscuit cutter or a sharp knife and rim of a glass. Place the rounds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Whisk the egg in a small bowl with a teaspoon of water and using a pastry brush or basting brush to brush a thin layer of egg wash around the perimeter of the dough on half of the circles. Spoon 2-2-1/2 teaspoons of the cooled filling into the center of these dough pieces and top each with a round of dough that doesn’t have the egg wash. Use the floured prongs of a fork to crimp the edges and arrange them on the baking sheet 1-1/2” apart. Repeat this process with any remaining dough by re-rolling and cutting and filling. Place the prepared pies in the freezer for at least 3 hours to chill.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and brush a thin layer of the remaining egg wash on the top of the pies. Vent the top by pricking a fork into the top of each and bake until bronzed, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool while you prepare the topping.
- Gently heat the heavy whipping cream on the stove or in the microwave until just barely bubbling. Pour the cream over top of the chocolate in a small bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Whisk the melted mixture together to combine and allow it to sit out about 10 minutes until it becomes a thickened mixture that won’t spill over the edges of the pies. Spread a small round of the ganache on top of each cooled pie and top with additional chopped pecans, if desired.