This is THE BEST pumpkin pie you will ever have. Although I love pumpkin pie I rarely make it because it seems almost boring to me when there are so many other interesting pies I could be making, but this particular pumpkin pie is anything but boring.
It begins with a brown butter butterscotch which gets pureed into a mixture of pumpkin and spices. A dash of molasses and lemon juice add further flavor complexity, and a surprise addition of carrot juice really takes things over the top. The result is a decadent, creamy one-of-a-kind pumpkin pie with a hint of tanginess that almost reminds me of cheesecake but way scaled back.
I shared this recipe with a friend of mine prior to Thanksgiving and told her I was thinking of making it for the occasion. She added it to her Thanksgiving menu as did I, and at both Thanksgivings it was met with rave reviews.
I froze some of my leftover carrot juice in ice cube trays with plans to make another pie this Christmas, which is only 3 weeks away! That's how much my family enjoyed this pumpkin pie that after years of avoiding making pumpkin pie because it's just too typical and not exciting enough for the menu, I'm making it twice in one season.
This is the pumpkin pie of our dreams, and I highly recommend making it for Christmas, for the weekend, for the office, for fun, for whatever purpose you choose because it's really better than the pumpkin pies of your past.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- ½ cup ice
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ⅔ cups pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup carrot juice
- For the crust: Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
- Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
- Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
- To partially pre-bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 425°F and place baking sheet on a rack on the lowest position. Roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness and carefully lay it into a 9-inch pie pan or dish, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim the edges and crimp as desired. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes to allow it to set. Prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork about 15 to 20 times. Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the crimped edges are set but not browned.
- Remove the pan and the baking sheet from the oven, lift out the parchment and the pie weights and let the crust cool for a minute. Beat together the egg white and water. Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides with a thin layer of egg white glaze to moistureproof the crust. Return the pan, on the baking sheet, to the oven’s middle rack and continue baking for 3 more minutes. Remove and cool completely before filling.
- For the pie: Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack in the center of the oven. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook; the butter will foam and then begin to turn golden, then nut brown; whisk occasionally. When the butter is nut brown, immediately add the brown sugar, whisk, and then carefully add the water to loosen. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue simmering until a candy thermometer reads 225°F. (If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture smells caramelized and starts to darken.) Slowly add the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble rapidly) and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together with the salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, blend the pumpkin puree with the allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, molasses, and lemon juice until smooth. With the machine running on low, stream the brown-butter butterscotch through the food processor’s feed tube and process until combined. Stream in the egg mixture, followed by the milk and carrot juice; blend until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides with a rubber scraper.
- Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate bowl, pressing through with a rubber scraper. Pour into the prebaked shell. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes (mine typically needs around 60 to 70 minutes), rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30 to 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Let to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or cool.
- The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*