There are thousands – maybe tens of thousands – of pumpkin pie recipes out there, and almost all of them contain a filling that follows this basic formula: pumpkin + eggs + sugar + dairy + warm spices. So why come up with yet another? Because so often the proportions are off between all these components. Sometimes it's an overwhelming amount of warm spice, other times too few eggs so the pie isn't custardy. Most often, there's too much sugar. I wanted a filling that set firmly into a custard and used strong flavors to balance out the vegetal quality of the pumpkin so I came up with browned butter for richness and caramelized honey (ust honey that's cooked to intensify the flavor) for sweetness. I love this pie and would gladly eat it on any occasion, not just Thanksgiving.
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).
*Use a 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.
**I don’t bother making my own puree 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 like this combination of warm spices, but if you are 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.
**** Bake any remaining pumpkin filling separately in a small ramekin. I like to do this to prevent ingredient waste, and also because it allows me to sample the filling prior to cutting into the pie!