This dreamy brown butter pumpkin pie recipe hails from Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in Brooklyn, New York. It’s hands down the best pumpkin pie you’ll ever make! With a handful of simple yet unexpected ingredients, take your old school pumpkin pie to next level perfection.
4ounces(1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1large egg white
1cuplight brown sugar
2large egg yolks
1 ⅔cups(360 grams) pumpkin puree
2teaspoonsfresh lemon juice
For the crust: Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and toss to coat with the flour mixture. 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 overwork the dough).
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 (be careful you don't get ice cubes into the dough), and mix with a fork until incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using a fork 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. 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 help moistureproof the crust. Return the pan, on the baking sheet, to the oven’s middle rack and continue baking for 8 to 10 more minutes until pale golden. Remove and cool completely before filling.
For the pie: Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. In a saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter cooks it will foam and then begin to turn golden and 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 and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor 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 spatula.
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 55 to 65 minutes (for a ceramic pie plate, time may vary for other materials). The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly (it should be wobblier than you think it should be). Be careful not to overbake or the filling will crack as it cools. The filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours.
The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.
If you have another preferred pie crust recipe, feel free to use it! You can also make this pie with store-bought crust, though I think it's worth the extra effort to make the crust from scratch since the filling is so outstanding. A store-bought crust would be a letdown in my opinion.
Freeze leftover carrot juice in ice cube trays. I have been known to bake this pie for Thanksgiving, freeze extra carrot juice, and make the same brown butter pumpkin pie again for Christmas a few weeks later!
Baking time and overall results can vary greatly depending on the type of pan you use. Metal, glass, and ceramic pie pans or dishes will all behave differently. I typically use ceramic and find it can take a bit longer to bake than metal pans do. I would also recommend using a slightly deeper pie dish if you have one to ensure plenty of room for the filling.
Since there are many variables to baking pie (only one of which is the pan or dish used) you may need to experiment with your pie baking to get the timings just right in your own kitchen.
If your crust edges are already quite browned after the blind-baking stage, you can cover the edges with foil after filling the crust, and bake the pie with the crust edges tented in foil for the entirety of the baking process. This will keep the crust from browning and drying out too much.