Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie is a traditional fall recipe that is enhanced with a rich flavor. It's made with an all-butter pie crust and filled with creamy pumpkin custard. This pie will be the star of your holiday dessert table.
If you love pumpkin pie, then you will especially love this updated version of the classic. Brown butter is the secret (well, not so secret, the name gives it away) ingredient that transforms this pie into a dessert that you'll want to enjoy during the fall season. If you thought brown butter was only for cookies (like in brown butter chocolate chip cookies), then I'm here to tell you that it can transform so many desserts, pie included!
Why this recipe works
- The filling is made with a brown butter butterscotch sauce for a delicious flavor.
- Both the pie dough and pie can be made ahead of time.
- The baked pie is freezer-friendly.
- Makes a delicious dessert at your holiday table.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
Pie baking dish
Pie weights, dried beans, or rice
2 small bowls
Baking sheet pan
Wire cooling rack
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
Butter. Using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt that goes into your recipe. In this recipe, browning the butter contributes a wonderful flavor to the pie. Brown butter is essentially clarified butter. It is butter that is heated to evaporate the water and separate the milk solids. The only difference is that brown butter is cooked until the milk solids caramelize, providing a bolder flavor
Heavy cream. The pumpkin pie filling is made with brown butter butterscotch sauce. Heavy cream is added into this mixture, similar to making caramel, to create a thick, flavorful sauce. If you prefer to substitute milk, combine 10 g (1 tablespoon) of cornstarch with 120 g (1/2 cup) of whole milk. Stir and allow the mixture to thicken before adding it to the brown butter mixture.
Eggs. As a custard base, pumpkin pie uses eggs as its thickening agent. This recipe uses a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks. The egg yolks create a creamier and slightly richer filling.
Spices. This pie is flavored with ground fall spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. If you have pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, substitute all the spices with 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
All butter pie crust tips
- Use well-chilled butter and water. Cold butter helps prevent the fat from getting overworked into the flour yielding flaky layers. The cold water will help to keep your butter cold while mixing the ingredients.
- Chill your dough before rolling out. Doing this allows the gluten to rest in your dough and maintains the flaky layers.
- Gently line your pie dish. When lining your baking dish, carefully lower the dough into the dish and allow the dough to “fall” into place instead of forcing it.
- Chill you dough before baking. Chill your lined baking dish before blind baking your crust to prevent the pie from shrinking in the oven.
How to blind bake pie dough
Line pie dish with crust. Carefully lower the pie crust into your baking dish. Ensure there are no air gaps between the crust and dish. Crimp the edges.
Refrigerate. Place the uncovered pie crust into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Line pie crust with pie weights. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and line the crust with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice.
Bake. Bake the pie crust in a 375°F/190°C preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Use a fork to prick holes all around the bottom crust and return the pie dish to the oven. Bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until the bottom is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
How to make the brown butter pumpkin pie filling
Brown the butter. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat while occasionally stirring. Cook the butter until it has brown specks throughout, careful not to burn.
Make brown butter butterscotch. Whisk both sugars into the butter and then add the water and combine. Bring the butter mixture to a boil, and using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 225°F/107°C. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in the cream while whisking (careful the mixture will bubble up). Add the vanilla and mix. Set the mixture aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Whisk the eggs. In the small bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together.
Whisk remaining ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, all the spices, salt, and molasses until well combined. Pour in the brown butter mixture and whisk together. Add the whisked eggs, milk, and carrot juice and whisk until smooth.
Tips and takeaways
- If you would like to create decorative pie crust cut-outs as shown in the photos, make 1 full recipe of the all-butter pie crust. Use half for the pie crust and the other half for the cut-outs. Bake the cut-outs separately from your pie (see notes in recipe card).
- Pour enough filling into your blind-baked pie crust so that it is 3/4 full. Depending on the size of your pie dish, you may have some filling leftover. You can bake the remainder in a small container for a delicious spoonable custard.
- Place your pumpkin pie on a baking sheet pan before putting it into the oven. It's much easier to transfer, and the sheet pan will catch any spillage.
- Custard pies should be baked until they jiggle slightly. Once they come out of the oven, the residual heat will help them continue to firm up. Overbaking the pie will cause cracking.
If you love pumpkin, try these other recipes...
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make this Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
- Total Time: 3 hours (includes chilling time)
- Yield: 9-inch pie 1x
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie is a traditional fall recipe that is enhanced with a rich flavor. It's made with an all-butter pie crust and filled with creamy pumpkin custard. Make this pie the star of your holiday dessert table.
For the crust
- 1/2 recipe all-butter pie crust
For the pumpkin filling
- 86 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 165g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
- 55 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 28 g (2 tablespoons) water
- 120 g (1/2 cup) heavy cream
- 4 g (1 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
- 100 g (2 large) eggs
- 40 g (2 large) egg yolks
- 400 g (1 2/3 cups) pumpkin puree
- 1.6 g (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 0.5 g (1/2 teaspoon) ground ginger
- 0.7 g (1/2 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- 0.5 g (1/4 teaspoon) ground cloves
- 2.8 g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- 7 g (1 teaspoon) molasses
- 160 g (2/3 cup) whole milk
- 80 g (1/3 cup) carrot juice
For the crust
- Remove your dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. Lightly flour work surface and begin to roll the dough from the center out. After each roll, rotate the dough 90°. Lightly add flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough until it is 1/8 - 1/4-inch thick.
- Line a pie dish with the crust and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the crust uncovered for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and line with a piece of parchment paper and pie weights, dried beans, or rice.
- Bake the pie crust in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and weights. Using a fork, prick holes all around the bottom crust and then return the pie crust to the oven.
- Bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until the bottom is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
For the pumpkin filling
- Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Continue to heat, while occasionally stirring, until the butter has brown specks throughout. Careful not to burn the butter.
- Whisk in both sugars and then add the water and combine. Bring the butter mixture to a boil and cook until it reaches 225°F/107°C. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream (the mixture will bubble up). Add the vanilla and mix. Allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes.
- In the small bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and molasses until combined. Add the butter mixture and continue to whisk together. Add the eggs, milk, and carrot juice and whisk until smooth.
- Place the pie crust on a baking sheet pan. Pour the filling into it and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/177°C and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the center slightly jiggles. Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make-Ahead: The all-butter pie crust can be made up to 3 days in advance. Once the pie is completely cooled, you can refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.
Freezing: Pumpkin pie freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. The dough also freezes well for up to 3 months. You can freeze pre-shaped in a freezer-safe pie plate or as a dough disc. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using it.
Spices: You can substitute all the spices with 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
Pie Crust Leaves: If using decorative pie crust leaves, make a full recipe of the pie dough. On a floured work surface, roll out one half of the chilled dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Using small leaf cookie cutters, cut out the shapes. Brush lightly with an egg wash. Place onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet pan and bake at 350°F/177°C for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow leaves to cool to room temperature before decorating the pie.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Pies
Keywords: pumpkin pie, fall pie, Thanksgiving desserts, pumpkin dessert, custard pie
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