slice of pecan pie with whipped cream on a plate

Brown Butter Pecan Pie + Espresso Dates: A Thanksgiving Star

This pie, which is made uber rich thanks to brown butter, roasted and salted pecans and espresso-soaked dates, is going to be the star of your Thanksgiving dessert table!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • Pie Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter cubed and frozen
  • Ice water--up to 1/4 of a cup
  • Filling
  • 2 cups pecan halves 7 ounces
  • 1 cup of dates pitted and chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • Whipped cream for serving


  • Make Crust
  • In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add 1/4 cup of ice water and pulse until the dough is evenly moistened. Gradually add more water if needed. Turn out the dough onto a work surface and knead 2 to 3 times, just until it comes together. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Roll Out Crust and Freeze
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round; transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the edge of the dough under itself and crimp the edge. Freeze the piecrust for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Blind Bake the Crust:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the piecrust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edge. Let cool.
  • Prepare Pecans
  • Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about eight minutes. Set a timer and pay attention. Pecans can burn quickly. Let cool.
  • Prepare Dates
  • In a small skillet, cook the dates in the brewed espresso over moderate heat, stirring, until very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl.
  • Brown the Butter
  • Add the butter to the pan and cook over moderate heat, swirling, until the milk solids turn a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Prepare the Filling
  • In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the corn syrup, espresso powder and salt. Whisk in the eggs, then gradually whisk in the brown butter until the filling is smooth.
  • Prepare the Pie for Baking
  • Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the espresso dates in the crust and scatter pecans on top. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake at 350 for about 75 minutes, or until the filling is set around the edge and slightly jiggly in the center. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.