Caramelized honey pumpkin pie will make pumpkin pie lovers out of even the most resistant. Gently spiced and with the addition of brown butter and caramelized honey, it hits all the right spots. An all-butter crust is a perfect complement to the sweet, creamy filling.
I don’t bother making my own purée from fresh pumpkin since I’ve never found it worth the effort. Canned pumpkin like Libby’s is lower in moisture and produces a perfectly smooth, flavorful pie. I also like this combination of warm spices, but if you’re missing one, can’t find them all at the store, or just don’t like certain spices, feel free to come up with your own blend.—Claire Saffitz
Caramelized Honey Pumpkin Pie FAQs
What type of honey is good for baking?
For this recipe, you’ll want to use good-quality, dark-hued honey. The more strongly flavored the better, so it stands out against the pumpkin. Just don’t use buckwheat or chestnut honey, which are too intense. You want to taste it but not be overwhelmed by it.
What can I do with extra caramelized honey pumpkin pie filling?
You may have a little filling leftover. Bake it separately in a small ramekin. This prevents ingredient waste, and allows you to sample the filling prior to cutting into the pie.
Caramelized Honey Pumpkin Pie
- 1 recipe All-Butter Pie Crust parbaked in a 9-inch (23-cm) pie plate and cooled
- 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (4 oz) good quality dark-hued honey
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) heavy cream at room temperature
- 4 large (7 oz) eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1.8 oz) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 can (15 ounce) unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) preferably Libby’s
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- Softly whipped cream for serving
- Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the parbaked pie crust on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the butter, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides constantly with a heatproof spatula. The mixture will sputter as the water boils off. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping, until the sputtering subsides, the butter is foaming, and the solid bits turn a dark brown, 3 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the honey (to prevent the butter from burning), stir to combine.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, swirling often, until the mixture is darkened slightly and has a savory, nutty smell, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly stream in the heavy cream, stirring constantly (be careful—the mixture may sputter) until it’s smooth.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the brown sugar and whisk vigorously until the mixture has lightened in color by a shade or two, about 1 1/2 minutes.
- Whisk in the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, salt, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves, if using, until smooth. Slowly stream in the warm honey mixture, whisking constantly, until the filling is completely homogenous, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the filling into the parbaked crust all the way to the top.
- Ever so carefully, slide the pie onto the center rack and bake until the filling is set and puffed around the edges and the center wobbles gently, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let the pie cool completely in the oven. Doing so will allow it to cool gradually, which will prevent cracking on the surface.
- Slice the pie into wedges and top each piece with softly whipped cream. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the cream and serve. The pie, covered and refrigerated, will keep up to 3 days but is best served on the first or second day (the crust will soften over time).
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This caramelized honey pumpkin pie is hands down the best pumpkin pie I have ever made. I was drawn to the idea of the brown butter and then caramelizing the honey. I’ve never heard of that before, now I wonder why.
The recipe suggests using dark and flavorful honey, mine was slightly darker than medium wildflower honey. I loved the combination of spices, just the right complement to the other ingredients.
This caramelized honey pumpkin pie is perfectly spiced and has just the right amount of sweetness. I love the nutty, rich taste of browned butter, and using honey for the caramel seemed like a nice touch.
The custard is creamy and compliments a good crust. (I used the included All-Butter Pie Dough for my par-baked crust and it was buttery and flaky and so delicious!)
This is a pie for that friend of yours who says he doesn’t like pumpkin pie. It has a lovely, luxurious, creamy texture, deep toffee flavors of butter and honey, and spice. It makes for an excellent variation on the classic pumpkin pie for the holiday. Honestly, I prefer my pumpkin pie more “pumpkin forward” so I can taste it but this is a really good variation and my wife loved it. I guess we are having 2 versions this year next to our turkey.
Originally published November 3, 2021