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Throw a Kentucky Derby Party!

May 6, 2011

Saturday is the Kentucky Derby so if you can’t make it to Churchill Downs then it’s about time to plan your fabulously fancy Kentucky Derby Party. With just a few easy recipes, you can create an elegant Southern party to watch this legendary race.First step – whip up the Mint Juleps. No real Derby party can exist without this  traditional cocktail that no doubt will fire up your guests. The most authentic Mint Julep recipe is made with Woodford Reserve, one of the most exclusive, small-batch bourbons in the world and the “official” bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. This cocktail is so popular that over 120,000 are served over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby!

Mint Julep

Recipe courtesy of Drinks Mixer
2 oz Woodford Reserve® bourbon whiskey
1 oz water
1 tsp cube white sugar
4 fresh mint sprigs

Muddle 3 mint sprigs, sugar and water in bottom of Julep cup or highball glass and fill with crushed ice. Fill with bourbon, stir. Dust 4th mint sprig with powdered sugar for garnish. Serve with straw.

 

Next step, print out race programs from the official website so your guests can follow along and engage in some friendly pre-derby chatter.

Your Southern fête should include some light, passed finger food that can be enjoyed while watching the race. Elegant tea sandwiches are a great idea. I love this recipe from Oprah.com that includes 3 different types of tea sandwiches, all equally delicious and truly offering something for everyone.


Tea Sandwiches
Courtesy Oprah.com
Servings: Makes 32 sandwiches

Ingredients

1 seedless cucumber
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese , softened
1 package (5 ounces) goat cheese , softened
1 cup packed baby arugula leaves , coarsely chopped
16 slices very thin whole wheat or white bread
Chopped chives or Italian parsley , for garnish

Honey mustard
16 slices very thin whole wheat or white bread
8 to 10 ounces very soft Brie , room temperature
8 thin slices ham , about 4 ounces total
Unsalted butter , softened
Toasted sesame seeds , for garnish

4 hard-boiled eggs , chopped
6 tablespoons mayonnaise , plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon (scant) chopped tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste
5 strips bacon , cooked until crisp and then broken into small pieces
16 slices very thin whole wheat or white bread
Chopped chives or Italian parsley , for garnish

Directions
Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one. Lay slices on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, and set aside.

Cucumber and Arugula Tea Sandwiches

Cream together the cream cheese and goat cheese in a small bowl. Add the arugula, and stir until well combined.

Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Arrange cucumbers in a single layer on 8 of the slices. Place remaining bread slices over the cucumber, cheese-mixture side down. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim off and discard the crusts. Slice each sandwich in half diagonally and then in half again; each large sandwich makes 4 triangular tea sandwiches.

Dip one edge of each tea sandwich in a dish of chopped herbs. Arrange sandwiches in tight rows on a serving platter.

Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Spread a very thin layer of honey mustard on 8 slices of bread. Then spread a thin layer of Brie over the mustard, and top each slice with 1 piece of ham. Spread a thin layer of Brie on the 8 remaining slices of bread, then place each, cheese side down, over a slice of ham-topped bread.

Using a serrated knife, carefully trim off and discard the crusts. Slice each sandwich in half diagonally, and then in half again; each large sandwich makes 4 triangular tea sandwiches.

Lightly butter one edge of each sandwich, and dip that edge into a dish of sesame seeds. Garnish remaining sandwiches. Arrange sandwiches in tight rows on a serving platter.

Bacon and Egg Tea Sandwiches

Combine eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir well to combine, then add and stir in bacon pieces.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture on each of 8 slices of bread. Cover with the remaining 8 slices of bread. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim off and discard the crusts. Slice each sandwich in half diagonally and then in half again; each large sandwich makes 4 triangular tea sandwiches.

Lightly spread mayonnaise on one edge of each sandwich, and dip in chopped herbs. Arrange sandwiches in tight rows on a serving platter.

 

For dessert, there is only one option — Kentucky Derby Pie. Rich, dense, and loaded with bourbon, chocolate and pecans, this pie was originally created by the Kern family in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Kentucky. Soon after it’s creation it became known as the “official” pie of the Kentucky Derby, and has been served at the famed race for the past 50 years. This pie will keep well, so feel free to make the night before!

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie
Recipe courtesy of the Examiner

Ingredients

1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, shelled and chopped in half if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll crust out.

In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.

Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts. Blend well.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.

Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

And, last but not least, encourage guests to wear glamourous, wide-brim hats that have been made famous by their prevalence at the Derby. At the very least, the hostess should be wearing hers 😉

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  • Maudepagin

    I first had this pie for Christmas two years ago. I got the recipe from Patricia’s Cornwell’s To Die For. Well, it is. The pie, I mean. Thanks for posting it, because I want it again. I’d already cooked myself to a tizzy for Cinco (which is also another kind of anniversary for DH and I) or I’d make this too. That, plus I ate all the chocolate chips yesterday because I was in a chocolate frenzy. I can get that way when I do a lot of cooking.

    Folks, this pie IS to die for, truly. I’ll be making the sandwiches very soon. How do you choose which one? You don’t! Yummy! Good thing my doctor and I have an agreement: he doesn’t tell ME to lose weight and I won’t poke his tummy in return! ROTFL

    Of all the pies I’ve seen on Pinterest, this is the one I’ve pinned. Why? Because it has the most bourbon, of course! (Anyone know why Jack Daniels isn’t bourbon? I learned why when DD worked for a bourbon bar. Cause they distill it to make it specially smooth or something; maybe it’s the barrel they age it in. Anyway, Jack isn’t bourbon . . . so don’t use it for this pie. Drink it. Maybe even while you make the pie . . . )

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