This is as rich as pie gets. The creamy, sweet caramel custard is festively spiked with bourbon, and cut with toasted pecans and just enough dark chocolate to cut its sweetness. The addition of bourbon and chocolate transform a garden variety pecan pie into something more complex and special. Don't forget to add the salt—it's an important touch that helps highlight and balance the sweet flavors.
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There used to be a humble neighborhood joint called Mara's Homemade in New York's East Village that served Bayou staples and barbecue. My husband and I visited it annually for shrimp and grits, gumbo, and ribs, which we'd wash down with hurricanes and Abita beers. And though we would be stuffed to the gills by the end of each epic meal, we could never say no to the offer of Derby Pie, which was loaded with buttery bourbon and caramel, pecans, and dark chocolate. It was one of the finest pies in New York City. With Mara's gone, I'm left to my own devices for my Derby Pie fix.