The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

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I learned some valuable lessons this Thanksgiving. First that pre-baking a pie crust is an anomaly to me. The crust shrank and I used leftover dough to make leaves to make it look pretty and completely forgot to put on an egg wash before baking. So those burned.

2015-11-25-09.02.43I tried redeeming myself by making another pie with the leftover filling. In a last minute decision, I used whole wheat flour and learned that one should not use whole wheat flour for pie crust because it makes it too crumbly. So I royally failed at making a proper pie crust…twice. Luckily, the filling was relish.

This was one of three desserts I made for Thanksgiving. Yes, three and if you are wondering, yes, I am crazy. But I could not, not make a pumpkin pie. It’s a Thanksgiving staple. It just wouldn’t feel right, if it were missing from the table.

This recipe is from the ever great Blackbirds Four & Twenty.


  • Single All Butter Crust
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1.2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup carrot juice

2015-11-25-21.24.17Partial Pre-Baking… if you dare. Maybe someone can explain this to me someday on what I am doing wrong. Have a set pie crust in the fridge for 30 minutes and then use a fork to prick the crust 15-20 times. This will eliminate any air bubbles. Place the pie crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes and set the oven 425F. Have an egg white with TBS of water for the egg wash during baking. Cover the crust with foil tightly and place the pie weights in pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove the crust from the oven and remove the foil to let the crust cool for a minute. Then use a pastry brush to coat the crust completely. Place the pie plate back in the oven for 3 more minutes then remove it and let it cool completely.

The recipe suggests to use to heavy-bottomed skillet, I used a medium sauce pan to melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk occasionally as the butter will foam and begin to change to a “nut brown.” Once it reaches the color, whisk in the brown sugar and slowly add the water to loosen the mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer until  it caramelizes to a dark brown. Remove from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Cool for at least 1o min and then add the vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 350F and have racks positioned to the center and lower rings. In a pyrex, whisk lightly the eggs, yolks and salt. In the food processor, blend the pumpkin, all spice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, molasses and lemon juice until smooth. Switch the speed to low, as you add the brown butter mixture, followed by the milk, and carrot juice. Scrape down the sides and blend until smooth.

The recipe also suggests straining the filling through a fine-mesh sieve but the I had a very liquidy filing and I basically had to clean two more things for no reason. Pour the filling into a pre-baked shell and bake in the middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes. The edges will be set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid. Allow to cool completely before serving.

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