Brown Butter Maple Pumpkin Pie
Updated Oct 12th 2021
It’s that time of year when pumpkin and fall squash have their day or more like their month in the spotlight. The most classic way to enjoy them this time of year is none other than a pumpkin pie. It’s a harvest food classic. I have wanted to recreate Four & Twenty Blackbirds recipe for their brown butter butterscotch pumpkin pie since last year but I wanted to do a maple twist to it. I love the flavour of the maple syrup and also think that it suits pumpkin so well. My family really loved this brown butter pumpkin pie. The flavours in it are wonderful. It requires just one extra step for the filling which includes browning the butter and then caramelizing it with the sugar and cream. It’s so worth the extra few minutes it takes to prep this part of the pie. It starts with a brown butter caramel which gets blended with a mixture of pumpkin and spices. A touch of molasses and lemon juice add further flavor complexity. Meanwhile, a surprise addition of carrot juice really takes things over the top.
You will save time making this pie using a store bought pie filling though. The one I look for is always E.D. Smith’s Pure Pumpkin. I have been using their pumpkin for as long as I can remember. It’s made with 100% Pure Dickinson Pumpkin. It has no preservatives, sugars or flavours added making it a staple item in my pantry. I love making things from scratch when I have time but this is what I always grab for most if not all my baked goods including pumpkin pie. The consistency and texture of good quality canned pumpkin like this one is far superior to homemade, not to mention the shortcut on labour.
This pie is definitely where I will gladly open a can to make a pie filling. Makes things easier and is a huge time saver. Feel free to use good store bought pie crusts for this recipe as well if that makes it even easier for you. I have included the homemade recipe I use but if you are in a pinch for time a good quality store bought crust will also do the trick.
E.D. Smith products have been in my life since I can remember. Not only do I use their fillings in my pies but also over my cheesecakes. E.D. Smith pie fillings are #1 in Canada and have been inspiring Canadian Bakers for over 135 years. I grew up in Hamilton and Stoney Creek Ontario and had the E.D. Smith factory in Winona close by - passing by it almost everyday. It’s a brand I have always known and loved and was so happy that I could even get it in Trinidad while I lived there. It felt like a taste of home when I would use it while I was there and it still does. Hope you guys love this pie - it’s the new favourite pumpkin pie in our house. I like it with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and loads of whip cream. Enjoy!
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:
- Pie Crust: I include the recipe for a delicious flaky butter/shortening pie crust below, however you are welcome to use any other pie crust you prefer. This particular version is authentic to the Brooklyn bakery. If you want to use your trusty pie dough recipe or even a store-bought crust, feel free to.
- Pumpkin Puree: While you can theoretically roast your own pumpkin to make puree, canned pumpkin purée is readily available and perfect for the purpose. It provides a reliable and consistent texture. It may also be labeled as solid-pack pumpkin or pure pumpkin. This is not to be mistaken for pumpkin pie filling which contains many other additives and not pure pumpkin purée
- Spices: This brown butter pumpkin pie includes ground cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. If your prefer to use your own spice blend I recommend including a combination of allspice, ginger, and cloves.
- Butter: You’ll need some cold cubed butter to make the homemade pie crust, but you’ll also need butter to make brown butter caramel.
- Brown Sugar: Use light or dark brown sugar to make your caramel.
- Carrot Juice: This is one of the interesting unexpected ingredients in the brown butter pumpkin pie. The pie is so outstanding that I don’t even question why it’s included in this one by Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Feel free to freeze it in ice cube trays for future use.
- Molasses: You’ll only need 1 teaspoon. Regular molasses, old fashion molasses or black strap molasses is fine here
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed is best. It gives just a subtle amount of tanginess to the filling.
Pumpkin Pie Tips for Success:
- Make your pie crust ahead of time. You can actually do this step up to two months in advance, since pie crusts are very freezer friendly. If you prefer to make your crust the day of, be sure you plan in advance and have plenty of time. The crust needs to chill for at least 1 hour before being rolled out, and then another 30 minutes before being filled
- If you simply don’t have time to make a homemade pie crust, you may use your favorite store bought 9″ pie shell instead. And if you just prefer to use your own trust pie dough/crust recipe feel free to substitute the one I have shared below with your own. You will need 1 pie dough for the actual pie and 1 for the cutouts if making.
- This recipe calls for brown butter. If you’re unfamiliar with this cooking phrase, don’t fret! Brown butter is simply butter that’s been cooked just long enough to toast the milk solids. It’s an easy step that really adds so much flavour.
- Don’t over bake your brown butter pumpkin pie! Over baking will lead to cracking in the custard, which is never fun. To avoid this, keep an eye on your pie while it’s baking, and remove it from the oven when the edges are set but the center is still a little wiggly.
- Be sure to allow your pie to cool for at least 2-3 hours before slicing! you need to get it to room temperature then chill If you attempt to slice it still warm the filling will not hold its shape. It takes a full 3 hours for it to set and slice like you see in my photos.
How to make Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie:
- Prepare your dough, chill for at least 1 hour then roll it out and fit into the bottom of pie plate then chill.
- Make the brown butter caramel
- Prepare filling: In a food processor, pulse the pumpkin with spices and lemon juice, followed by the brown butter caramel, eggs, milk, maple syrup, molasses and carrot juice. Feel free to whisk these ingredints in a bowl until smooth if you don’t want to use a food processor
- Pour the filling into chilled pie crust then bake (you can also pre-bake the crust first or blind bake for a crispier pie crust bottom - directions for that below) - do not over bake
- Allow the pie to cool on rack to room temperature then chill until fully set before slicing and enjoying
I have partnered up with E.D. Smith to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
- Two 9-inch pie doughs (1 if not making the leaf cutouts) - storebought or homemade recipe below
For the brown butter caramel
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ⅔ cups E.D. Smith Pure Pumpkin
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp molasses
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup carrot juice
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling over pie as a garnish (optional)
Fit the crust into pan
- Roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness and carefully lay it into a 9-inch pie pan or dish with a flat rimmed edge, being careful not to stretch the dough.
- Trim the dough to within a ½ inch of the pie dish rim and refrigerate and chill while you make the filling and while you prepare the other dough for the cutouts if using. (see below for detailed instructions on how to make the dough and the cutouts)
Make the brown butter caramel
- In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook; the butter will foam and then begin to turn golden, then a nutty brown; whisk occasionally. When the butter is fragrant and nutty and has browned, add the brown sugar, whisk, and then carefully add the water while whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to simmer for a few minutes until the mixture smells caramelized and starts to darken in colour. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble rapidly) and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before whisking in the vanilla extract. Set aside
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prepare the Pumpkin pie filling
- In a separate small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together with the salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor or blender blend the pumpkin puree with the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and lemon juice until smooth. With the machine running on low, stream the brown-butter caramel through the food processor’s feed tube and process until combined. Drizzle in the egg mixture, followed by the milk, maple syrup, molasses and carrot juice; blend until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides.
- Remove pie crust from fridge and place on baking sheet. Pour filling into it and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. REDUCE oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 35-40 minutes, or when the center jiggles only slightly when shaken. Do not overbake. If the crust begins to brown too much as it bakes, you can cover the crust with foil to stop the browning.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. (Proceed with baking the remaining cutouts if using- see further instructions below) Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or chilled with whip cream.
Homemade Flaky Pie Crust (makes two 9 inch pie crusts)
- 2½ cups all-purpose Flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup shortening
- 12 tbsp (1½ sticks) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup ice cold water
- 1-2 eggs beaten for egg wash
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the mixture a few times until well combined.
- Add the shortening to the food processor and pulse once. Add the cold cubes of butter, one at a time, pulsing 1 to 2 times after the addition of each one
- With the food processor running on low, stream in the ice water until the mixture starts to come together in large clumps.
- Divide the dough in half. Form each into a disc and wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Place the other disc in between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a circle that is approx 1½-2 inches larger in circumference than your pie dish (at this point you can make the filling, fill the cooled crust and bake as is without the cut outs)
- Roll out the other disc into a circle the same as the first and cut leaf shapes out of the dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Remove pie dish from fridge and brush the flat rimmed edges of the pie crust with egg wash and then line the rim with half of the leaves decoratively. Refrigerate again until ready to fill. Brush the remaining leaves with egg wash and refrigerate them on the sheet pan while the pie bakes. After pie is out of the oven bake the remaining leaves at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Use these to decorate the inner ring of the pie or over it to your liking.
- To Partially Pre-bake Crust: This usually yields a better flakier bottom to your crust and helps prevent a soggy bottom in Custard filled pies. It’s optional. Here is how it’s done. 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 rimmed 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 a smoother filling: Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate bowl, then pour into the prebaked shell. Bake until the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly.
- Which pie dish to use: 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. 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.
- 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.
Inspired by Four & Twenty Blackbirds and The Kitchen Mccabe