Here in New England where I live, we tend to get a bit pumpkin crazy.
Bread, butter, coffee, and soup – even hummus, curry, and pretty much everything else tastes better when this vibrant squash is in season.
Everyone’s favorite though, without a doubt, is the classic pumpkin pie. But sometimes this seasonal staple can be a little bit bland.
Growing up we always ate our slice with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Cool Whip. I wondered if it was possible to make a pie so good it could be enjoyed all on its own.
Sure enough, I achieved perfection. With nutty notes of browned butter and the deep comfort of sage, this pumpkin pie is everything you need – no creamy topper necessary.
It pulls together quickly, so you can even have it ready by tonight.
Before you begin however – make sure to stock up on these ingenious tips on how to make the most perfect pie yet.
- 1 recipe pate brisee, blind baked (or other pre-baked crust)
- 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 7 fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 2 eggs
- 1 15- ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brown the butter in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Once it begins to smell nutty, add the heavy cream and sage. Steep until the cream begins to foam, remove from heat, and let cool.
- Whisk together the brown sugar, salt, and spices until the spices are evenly distributed. Whisk in the eggs.
- Strain the butter and cream mixture to remove the sage, and whisk together with the pumpkin.
- Whisk in the honey, then the eggs and sugar. Mix until smooth.
- Pour into the pre-baked crust and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center is just slightly firm. Let cool for at least one hour before slicing.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Brown and Infuse
Begin by pre-heating the oven to 350°F.
Brown the butter in a medium-sized pot. I recommend using a light-colored pot so that you can see the color transition easily.
The butter will melt, then foam, then turn to a golden hue, before finally letting off a nutty scent.
Once it hits this nutty phase it is done – keep in mind that it can turn from perfect to burned very quickly, so stand close by during this process!
Once the butter smells nutty and looks toasty brown – you will see the milk solids turn darker than the rest of the butter – it is done. See our detailed guide on making browned butter now.
Pour in the cold cream to stop the cooking, and add the sage leaves.
Keeping the stove on medium–high heat, let the cream steep until it begins to foam. Turn off the heat and let the butter, cream, and sage mixture cool.
Step Two – Whisk
Mix together the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Blending the powdery spices with the coarse sugar helps to distribute them evenly throughout the filling; but if you need tips for softening that brown sugar for speeding up this process, we’ve got them in spades.
Using a large balloon whisk, stir in in both of the eggs, and blend until smooth.
Step Three – Strain
Pour the butter and cream mixture through a sieve to strain out the sage leaves.
Using the back of a spoon, press the leaves to be sure to get all of that super flavorful cream and butter.
In a large bowl, whisk the cream mixture together with the pumpkin puree. Make sure you are using plain, unflavored pumpkin, not the pre-spiced pie filling kind.
Step Four – Combine
Whisk in the honey until it is fully combined, then add the sugar and egg mixture.
Stir the filling until it is completely smooth. You want to make sure there are no streaks of sugar or honey remaining in the mixture, and that it is all well incorporated.
Step Five – Fill
Pour the filling into your pre-baked shell. I like to use my recipe for pate brisee to make the crust.
Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is just slightly firm. If you gently jiggle the pie, the filling should still be just a bit wobbly in the center.
Let it cool for at least an hour, so that the filling can set.
Slice and Serve
This pie has such a rich flavor that it is wonderful served on its own. Of course, it would also pair well with a small dollop of whipped cream, or a scoopful of homemade cinnamon honey ice cream.
Want to mix things up just a bit? Try infusing your cream with sage, chill, then whip. Or, give some of our other holiday-inspired pie recipes a try.
If you loved this autumn-inspired baking recipe, then you’ll definitely love our apple pear pie with cardamom and ginger, or our classic sweet potato pie.
And make sure to browse all of Foodal’s best pie recipes.
Want more brown butter based dishes? Check these out(!):
- Homemade Brown Butter Brioche Dinner Rolls
- Pecorino-Encrusted Cod in Brown Butter
- Roasted Carrot Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies
- Grandma’s Brown Butter Cookies
What’s your favorite way to serve pumpkin pie? What are your thoughts on diverging from the classic flavor and mixing things up a bit? Let us know in the comments below.
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Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.
3 thoughts on “Pumpkin Pie with Sage and Brown Butter”
This is certainly an upgrade from the pumpkin pie that I’m used to making! I like the idea of infusing the butter and cream with sage. I don’t like adding whipped cream to pie, either, so this is a nice alternative. The brown sugar is a nice idea, too. I’ll have to try it out myself, but it seems like it would give it that nice, traditional Thanksgiving flavor. I might add a touch of maple syrup at some point in the cooking, but I really like how this recipe looks. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed it, I definitely think it would make a great Thanksgiving treat. Maple syrup would be a really tasty addition!
I am so glad that we are finally here. The fall has arrived and the colder weather is starting to finally come around and make things a little more bearable. I just love this time of year, and the pumpkin flavor is one reason why. The pie and the seeds are really my go to ones, so this works quite well.