How to make the best pumpkin pie…
- Make a bain marie in the oven. This basically means filling a shallow dish with water and putting it on the lowest rack of the oven while you’re preheating it. You leave it in there the whole time the pie is baking on the rack just above it, and this essentially steams the filling of the pie while it bakes, ensuring that it won’t dry out and form a large sad crack in the middle.
- Turn the oven off when the pie is done, but leave the pie in the oven and open the oven door to allow the pie to cool very gradually. This will also help prevent any unsightly cracks from forming.
- I also highly recommend roasting your own squash and pulsing it in the blender it to create your own pumpkin puree, which is a tip I learned from my favorite baking book The Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor Tobin. Roasting the squash first caramelizes all the natural sugars in the squash even more and creates a deeper, richer flavor.
- Use creme fraiche. It adds a *crazy* silky texture to the pie that you just can’t get with plain old heavy cream. Plus it adds the slightest bit of tang which creates more complexity within the custard so the flavors aren’t just sweet on sweet on sweet.
- If you want to be a fancy crust person, definitely freeze the crust after you’ve formed the crust to the pie pan and attached your decorative edges, but do it before you add the filling. I have it all broken down in the recipe below, but it’s worth mentioning here, too. If you watch my instagram stories you know that I learned this the hard way when all the fancy crust decorations I put on the pie the first time around melted off 🙁
- Give yourself plenty of time. Between roasting the squash, freezing the crust, and making the butterscotch sauce, and giving the pie a few hours to cool after baking, you need to set aside a good amount of time. I recommend doing some tasks ahead of time, like making the crust and freezing it the day before, or making the butterscotch sauce the day before, as well, to help make preparation on the day-of much simpler.
Pumpkin Pie with Butterscotch
This classic pumpkin pie recipe has a bit of a twist, with the addition of butterscotch to both the filling and the topping. To avoid getting any cracks in the top of your pumpkin pie, please follow the recipe exactly as it appears below.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup butter cold and hard
- 6 - 10 tablespoons ice water
- 1 whole egg whisked
Roasted Pumpkin Puree (makes about 2 1/2 cups puree)
- 3 1/2 pounds baking pumpkin or winter squash such as blue hubbard sweet dumpling, sugar pumpkin or butternut, cut in half and de-seeded
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup butterscotch sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2/3 cup creme fraiche
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons flour sifted
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until combined. Cut the butter into small pieces above the bowl, stopping to stir and coat the butter bits in the flour mixture every few minutes.
Pinch the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of damp sand. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it with a fork, until the dough just holds together when you squeeze a fistful of it in your hand.
Roll out the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick and transfer it to a 10-inch pie dish. Press the crust into the pan, trim off the excess leaving a 1-inch overhang, and reserve the excess dough. Fold the 1-inch overhang under the edge of the crust all the way around and pinch the edges.
Roll out the remaining dough until it is 1/8-inch thick and cut out any decorative shapes you want to place along the edge of the crust.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Lightly brush the edges of the pie crust and place the decorative pieces along the edge, pressing down gently to adhere them with the egg wash. Lightly brush the decorative pieces with the wash.
Gently cover the pie crust with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 2 hours.
Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, and rub the interior of the squash with the olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet, inside facing up, and roast under tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool to warm, and then use a spoon to scoop out the soft roasted squash flesh and place it in a blender. Blend at medium speed until a smooth puree forms.
Begin to melt the butter in a medium stainless steel saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is nearly melted, add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Allow the mixture to cook until it melts into a thick lava-like liquid, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.
When the brown sugar has melted and isn't so grainy, add the cream and use a metal whisk to stir to combine. Allow to continue cooking until the mixture thickens and smooths out, about 8 to 10 minutes more, stirring every 3 minutes or so.
Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and salt, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Separate out 1/2 cup of the sauce for the pie filling, and reserve the remaining sauce to be served alongside the pie.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill a shallow pot with a few inches of water and place on the lowest rack of the oven, with another rack placed just above it.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, and maple syrup until smooth.
Switch to the paddle attachment and add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the butterscotch sauce and melted butter and mix until smooth.
Add the creme fraiche and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Sprinkle the flour into the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves and mix until smooth.
Remove the crust from the freezer, remove and discard the plastic wrap, and pour the filling into the pie. Gently and *carefully* tap the pie on the counter a few ties to get rid of any air bubbles.
Place the pie in the oven on the rack just above the pot of water. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until the crust is lightly golden, the edges of the filling are nearly set, **but the center is still jiggly**, about another 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much moisture the squash variety used for the filling has (canned pumpkin tends to be more wet than homemade freshly roasted pureed pumpkin). The wetter the squash, the longer it will take for the filling's edges to become close to being set.
Turn the oven off and open the oven door to allow the pie to cool down gradually inside the oven over a period of 2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for another hour at room temperature.
For a firmer pie, place it in the refrigerator to solidify for 1 hour prior to serving. For a softer pie, serve at room temperature. Drizzle the pie with the remaining butterscotch sauce and serve. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.