Kentucky Methodist Derby Pie

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This Pie-a-Day post comes to us from Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly and his wildly popular Ask a Mexican column.  Gustavo is a regular contributor to Good Food.

photo-32Whenever I think of the Methodist Church, I can’t help but to recall The Simpsons. In one episode, the ghost of Krusty the Klown is about to kill Homer (don’t ask) as the Simpsons patriarch asks what is the one true religion. “It’s a mixture of voodoo and Methodist,” Krusty replies. In another episode, Bart asks Lisa—who is looking to leave Christianity—if she’s considered joining “one of those religions where you eat a human heart?”

“No,” Lisa replies.

“How about Methodist?”

“NO!,” Lisa says with disgust.

photo-30Introductory non-sequitor, I know, for a post about pies. But I thought about those two episodes when my chica and I stopped at Westside Community United Methodist Church in Hustonville, Kentucky a couple of weeks ago.

We were in the land of bourbon for the World’s Largest Garage Sale, which she wrote about earlier for the Pie Blog</a>. We stopped at Hustonville to look for antiques—I bought some eight-tracks of bluegrass music and an old statue of Casper the Friendly Ghost—but didn’t expect to find pie. But the congregation was holding a food fundraiser for their missionary work, and although I’m a Catholic of the non-pedophile-priest apologist variety, I do appreciate good works.

We went down to the church’s basement, where a line snaked from the kitchen to the door. Barbecue was grilling outside; cold drinks and air conditioning beckoned inside. But everyone had a pie slice on their table, and we soon found out why.

Pie, more than anything was the big seller. They had about 10 flavors, all homemade, all selling fast. They even had a room devoted to storing their pies, to ensure that they didn’t sell out.
I’m an apple pie guy myself, with a soft spot in my cold heart for boysenberry, but I had never heard of Derby pie. I asked the kind lady working the counter for its ingredients. “Mostly chocolate and pecan,” she replied. Two of my favorite things. I ordered a slice.

Lord almighty, I never knew sweet until I tried the pie. Structurally, the pie worked: flaky, with a sturdy bottom and top, crust flowing seamlessly into the filling. Inside, the chocolate was melted, rich on the sugar scale, smooth; the pecans, salty and crunchy. The texture switched between the two main ingredients splendidly.
photo-31I couldn’t taste any bourbon, as per the usual recipe, but it didn’t matter: the sugar in this inspired intoxicated visions for the rest of the day. Or maybe it was that dang oppressive heat and humidity…