Four & Twenty Blackbirds' Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
A Spin On Traditional Dessert
Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop has taken New York City by storm with its farm-to-table ethos and unique flavors like chocolate julep and birch beer float. This year, cap off your Thanksgiving meal by trying something new, like this recipe for brown butter pumpkin pie.
For the crust:
Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend). Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
For the pie:
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook; the butter will foam and then begin to turn golden, then nut brown; whisk occasionally. When the butter is nut brown, immediately add the brown sugar, whisk, and then carefully add the water to loosen. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue simmering until a candy thermometer reads 225°F. (If you don't have a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture smells caramelized and starts to darken.) Remove from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble rapidly) and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together with the salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or in a large bowl using an immersion blender, blend the pumpkin puree with the allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, molasses, and lemon juice until smooth. With the machine running on low, stream the brown-butter butterscotch through the food processor's feed tube and process until combined. Stream in the egg mixture, followed by the milk and carrot juice; blend until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides with a rubber scraper. Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate bowl, pressing through with a rubber scraper. Pour into the prebaked shell.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30 to 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or cool. The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.
Recipes from THE FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS PIE BOOK by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Elsen and Emily Elsen. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.