Recipe: Pumpkin pie with pecan brown butter streusel

Karen Hatfield adds her own touch on a traditional pumpkin pie with brown-butter streusel and pepitas.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 2½ hours, plus chilling and cooling times

Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from Quinn and Karen Hatfield.

Pie dough

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 3½ tablespoons water

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (12 ounces) flour

3/4 cup (1½ sticks) plus 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon (½ ounce) cold lard or shortening, cut into ½-inch cubes

1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the salt and cold water until the salt is dissolved. Place the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.

2. Meanwhile, on a large, flat surface, spread the flour into a fairly large rectangle about one-fourth-inch thick. Place the butter and lard cubes on top and sprinkle a little of the flour over the fat so the pieces do not stick when worked.

2. Use a rolling pin to press down on the cubes, flattening them and rolling over them, to create sheets of fat. Using a bench scraper, gather the flour and butter sheets together and repeat to continue flattening the butter. Eventually the butter and flour will begin to look like dried-out flakes of paint.

3. Gather the mixture together again into a pile, and form a well in the center. Pour the cold salt water in the center of the well. Slowly incorporate the flour and butter sheets into the well, working gently so the water does not escape. Continue working just until the mixture comes together to form a dough. The dough will look a little dry at first but, once chilled, will come together.

4. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.

Brown butter pecan streusel

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4.67 ounces) flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Generous 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Generous ¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch cinnamon

1. Toast the pecans: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle, then chop.

2. Brown the butter: In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and cook until the water evaporates and the butter solids turn a rich golden-brown (they will sink to the bottom of the pan). Whisk or stir the butter frequently as it cooks so it browns evenly. Remove from heat and pour into a measuring cup or bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and chopped toasted pecans. Drizzle over the cooled butter. Mix well to combine. Scatter onto a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool. Crumble before using.

Pumpkin pie with pecan brown butter streusel

Prepared pie dough

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

Prepared streusel topping

2 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to a thickness of just over one-eighth-inch thick and about 14 inches in diameter. Place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish, pressing the dough so it fits neatly in the dish. Trim any excess dough and mold the edges (discard the excess, or save it for another use).

3. Par-bake the crust: Line the dough with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes to set up the crust. Remove the pie weights and liner and continue to bake an additional 5 minutes to set the center of the crust. Remove the crust and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, dark and light brown sugars, ginger, vanilla, eggs and evaporated milk. Sift the cornstarch mixture into the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

5. Pour the filling into the par-baked crust. Place the pie in the center of the oven and bake until the custard is almost set but not completely baked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle a layer of streusel topping over the pie (you may not use all of the topping), along with the pumpkin seeds. Continue baking until the custard is completely set (it will shake like firm jelly when tapped), and remove to a rack. Cool completely before serving.

Each of 8 servings: 842 calories; 13 grams protein; 92 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 48 grams fat; 27 grams saturated fat; 156 mg cholesterol; 43 grams sugar; 660 mg sodium.