Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie from 'How to Be a Bourbon Badass'

This delicious recipe is from How to Be a Bourbon Badass by Linda Ruffenach. Discover more great recipes and embark on your own bourbon adventure by picking up a copy at your favorite book retailer.

The Melrose Inn is not only a place full of family memories; it is also home to the famous Kern’s Kitchen Derby-Pie. Created over half a century ago, the chocolate, bourbon-infused walnut pie was developed by George Kern with the help of his parents, Walter and Leaudra. By 1968, Derby-Pie had become so successful that the name was registered with the US Patent Office and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Since then it has been baked and distributed solely by Kern’s Kitchen, a small family operation owned by the Kern’s grandson, Alan Rupp. The recipe is a secret, known only to a small group of Kern family members and a single Kern’s Kitchen employee (who actually mixes the recipe today).

There is nothing quite like the original Derby-Pie, but the recipe is top secret and not something you can repeat at home. When we cannot find the original at the store, the following recipe is a variation we serve at family gatherings. The simplicity of the recipe makes it easy to pull together at the last minute for an impressive dessert at your next gathering.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie


  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, flour, salt, bourbon and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  2. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
  3. Pour into a partially baked pie shell, and bake at 350° for 30–40 minutes until center is set.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

*If you want more bourbon flavor, use 3 tablespoons bourbon and skip the vanilla.