Salted Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie

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It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin as a flavor is being celebrated and used in the most creative ways; from pasta sauce to salsa to cookies to muffins, it makes even the most unconventional recipe resemble a bit of an autumnal flavor profile. Pumpkin pie is probably one of the most traditional ways to use pumpkin, and it’s always a favorite of mine to whip up at least a couple times when the weather starts to cool. Every thanksgiving I make it a point to make one for the table, and this year I wanted to give it a bit of a twist.

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This salted butterscotch pumpkin pie is just the thing to help spruce up Thanksgiving dessert with a little extra flair, keeping true to traditional pumpkin flavors but adding a depth of flavor from homemade butterscotch, made with a bit of extra salt to boot. The sauce is surprisingly easy to make, and although it’s an extra step in the pie making process, it adds a rich caramelization to the filling that sets this recipe apart. It’s nothing bold, but enough of a difference in flavor to make your guests wonder just what it is that makes that pie taste particularly wonderful. In the recipe, I recommend setting aside a little portion of the butterscotch out of the filling for drizzling on top and swirling with lightly sweetened whipped cream. You may add a pinch or two of flakey salt to it at the end, if you want to emphasize the salted butterscotch flavor.

Sincerely, Adelle

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Salted Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie

For the salted butterscotch

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the pie crust

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting the countertop!)

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Ice water, up to 4 tablespoons

  • Egg wash (1 egg plus 1 tablespoon cream, whisked)

For the pie filling

  • All but 1/4 cup of the butterscotch (reserve the 1/4 cup for drizzling over the pie)

  • 15 oz pumpkin purée

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make the pie dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, pulsing until combined. Add the butter, pulsing just until there are small bits of butter throughout, resembling sand. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just begins to come together. Wrap in plastic wrap and tuck away in the fridge to chill.

While the dough chills and the oven is heating, make the butterscotch. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream and allow the sauce to bubble, not stirring for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the cream, salt, and vanilla, whisking until fully incorporated. Allow the sauce to thicken over low heat for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reserve 1/4 cup separately to drizzle over the finished pie.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and on a floured surface, roll out the dough. Transfer it to a 9 inch baking dish, trimming the edges and adding crimps or using a fork to press lines into the crust. Prick the bottom of the dish a few times with a fork. Cover the dough with parchment paper and pie weights (or uncooked beans) and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the parchment and pie weights, then bake another 5. Remove the baked pie crust from the oven and allow to cool while you assemble the filling.

To make the pie filling, whisk together all of the cooled butterscotch (omitting the 1/4 cup reserved for drizzling), the pumpkin purée, the milk, and the eggs. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour into the baked crust (you will have a bit of extra filling left over), brush the egg wash onto the crust, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is set. Cover the crust with aluminum foil if it browns too quickly. Allow to cool completely before serving, topping with some whipped cream and the reserved butterscotch, along with a little pinch of Maldon salt if you wish.