The Unexpected Ingredient That Will Majorly Upgrade Your Derby Pie

Pie is a classic dessert, and there are endless iterations of delicious pie recipes out there. From versions that require serious time in the oven to develop a golden brown crust to no-bake varieties that just need to chill and set, from fruity fillings to creamy custard-based ones, there's something for every taste and skill level. But one type of pie you may not have heard of — but absolutely need to try — is derby pie.

As recipe developer Molly Pisula explains of her Mashed-exclusive derby pie recipe, "derby pie is a type of pie invented in Kentucky in the 1950s that features chocolate chips and walnuts in a pastry pie shell." That's right — you get all the perks of that brown, buttery, crisp crust, paired with the decadent filling that Pisule describes as "almost like a nutty chocolate chip cookie in pie form."

And novice bakers needn't fret — it's not a particularly challenging item to bake. In fact, Pisula says, "What I like most about the pie is that it is so easy to make." There's no need for a mixer or any other specialized gear to whip up this sweet treat. All you need is a handful of baking staples, including brown sugar, eggs, and semisweet chocolate chips. Plus, of course, Pisula's secret ingredient, which will take your derby pie to the next level. It's a versatile addition that you might even want to consider testing out in a few of your other favorite dessert recipes.

The nutty secret ingredient

Fans of chocolate chip cookies will be familiar with many of this derby pie recipe's flavor notes, from a hint of vanilla (courtesy of the vanilla extract) to the nutty, chocolate-y flavors from the mix-ins. However, vanilla extract isn't the only extract that helps elevate the other ingredients in this pie. Recipe developer Molly Pisula's secret ingredient for perfect derby pie is almond extract.

While vanilla extract may taste familiar to many dessert lovers, it's the almond extract that helps highlight the other flavors in the filling, even though the recipe calls for a mere ¾ teaspoon of it. "This derby pie has a slightly nutty flavor due to the walnuts in the batter, but adding the almond extract brings out that flavor and plays beautifully with the chocolate flavor as well," says Pisula.

The beginner-friendly recipe requires just one bowl and is relatively foolproof. Though the aroma may make it difficult to resist digging in the minute the pie comes out of the oven, Pisula advises that you want it to cool first so that you can slice it properly. "If you try to cut it too early, you won't get clean slices of pie," she says.

While Pisula says that derby pie is "delicious on its own," anyone looking for a little something to top it with should consider one of her suggestions. The sweet treat is apparently "great topped with whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream."