Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
1 prebaked single crust pie shell
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon molasses
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup carrot juice
1. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, as the butter foams, then turns golden, then nut brown. When the butter is nut brown, immediately whisk in brown sugar, then the water.
2. Bring mixture to a boil; simmer until a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees. (Or until mixture smells caramelized and starts to darken.) Off heat, slowly add cream (the mixture will bubble rapidly) and whisk until smooth. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together with the salt.
5. Using a food processor, blend pumpkin with the spices, molasses, and lemon juice until smooth. Stream the brown-butter butterscotch through the food processor's feed tube and process until combined. Stream in egg mixture, then milk and carrot juice; stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides.
6. Strain filling through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing through with a rubber scraper. Pour into the prebaked shell.
7. Bake on center rack 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 30 to 35 minutes through the baking time. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly. Do not overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set as the pie slowly cools.
8. Cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or cool. Keeps refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.
-- Courtesy Emily and Melissa Elsen, "The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book" (Grand Central Life & Style, $30, 224 pages)