This dessert, featured on this episode of Milk Street, is the creation of Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine. The nutty flavor and flaky, yet sturdy texture of the whole-wheat pastry perfectly complement the browned butteriness and silkiness of the custard filling.

Milk Street Kitchen's Maple–Browned Butter Pie
Connie Miller / CB Creatives

Maple–Browned Butter Pie

Start to finish: 3 hours (45 minutes active) | Makes one 9-inch pie


For the crust:

  • 98 grams (3⁄4 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 70 grams (1⁄2 cup) whole-wheat flour
  • 13 grams (1 tablespoon) white sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) white sugar
  • 111 grams (1⁄3 cup) honey
  • 18 grams (2 tablespoons) fine cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, well beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup maple syrup (see note)
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • Maldon sea salt flakes, to serve (optional)


To make the crust, in a food processor, combine both flours, the sugar and salt; process until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture, then pulse until the pieces are the size of small peas, 10 to 14 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon ice water, then toss with a silicone spatula, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the bowl until the water has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining ice water, adding it 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms pebbly clumps; you may not need all the water. Using your hands, press the clumps together firmly into a rough ball, then form the ball into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. On a well- floured counter and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Gently ease the dough into the plate by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners. Trim the edges, leaving a 1⁄2-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan. Using your fingers, crimp and flute the edge of the dough. Refrigerate uncovered until firm, about 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Line the chilled dough with a large piece of heavy-duty foil, pressing the foil into the corners and up the sides of the pie plate, then fill evenly with 2 cups pie weights; loosely fold the foil to cover the fluted edge. Bake until the edges of the crust are light golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and remove the foil and weights. Reduce the oven to 325°F.

While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape the butter into a medium heatproof bowl and let cool until warm, about 15 minutes.

To the browned butter, whisk in the sugar, honey, cornmeal and kosher salt. Add the eggs and yolk, then whisk slowly and gently until well combined. Add the maple syrup, cream, vanilla and vinegar, then whisk gently until homogenous. Pour the filling into the crust (it's fine if the crust is still warm).

Bake until the edges of the filling are puffed and the center jiggles when the pie plate is gently shaken, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack and let stand until the filling is fully cooled and set, 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with Maldon salt (if using).

Notes: Don’t skip or skimp on the pie weights when prebaking the crust; they're essential for preventing the dough from shrinking, slipping and bubbling. We highly recommend using metal or ceramic pie weights. Unlike dried beans and rice, two common pie-weight stand- ins, both metal and ceramic conduct heat well, which aids with browning, and their heft holds the dough in place as it bakes. Also, don't forget to lower the oven temperature to 325°F after placing the prebaked crust on a wire rack.

We recommend using the darkest maple syrup you can find so the smoky maple notes hold their own amidst the butter, eggs and cream. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt just before serving balances the filling's sweetness and adds a pleasing crunch that contrasts the smoothness, but this flourish is purely optional. The pie can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days; bring to room temperature before serving.

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