Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Brown butter cashew pie

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

I'm not entirely sure why pecan pie became the most popular nut pie. As someone whose snacking habits resemble those of a woodland creature, I eat a lot of nuts. And while I like pecans, I think cashews are far superior. Yet, I have never encountered a cashew pie. So I wanted to change that! 

Cashews are softer and a little sweeter than pecans. They taste almost buttery--all characteristics that would be tasty in a pie. When developing a recipe, I ask myself what flavor profile I want to achieve. For this pie, I wanted something complex and toasty with notes of caramel. Here's what I did to achieve that.

First, I toasted my cashews. Always, always toast nuts before using them in a recipe. A little heat "blooms" the nuts, allowing them to release essential oils that make them taste (for lack of a better term) nuttier. It also caramelizes the surface of the nuts, which means more flavor.

Second, if we toast the nuts, we should also brown the butter. Brown butter is butter cooked past the melting point so the milk solids caramelize. This results in a nutty, caramel-like flavor. You can make brown butter by melting butter on the stove. The butter will sizzle, bubble, and foam, and then you'll see amber-colored flecks on the bottom. Start with a good quality butter for the best flavor. I always use Challenge unsalted butter. Challenge butter is made with 100% real pasteurized sweet cream. That’s it. Nothing artificial or synthetic. 

Third, there are two types of corn syrup: dark corn syrup and light corn syrup. Using the two interchangeably won't affect the structure of the recipe, but it will affect the flavor profile. Light corn syrup tastes mild with hints of vanilla. Dark corn syrup contains molasses and has a more robust, deeper sweetness. That's why I use dark corn syrup in this recipe.

There is one more ingredient that will contribute to the flavor profile we're trying to achieve: bourbon. The alcohol in bourbon cooks out during baking, resulting in a rich, nutty flavor that really enhances the other flavors.

Once you toast the nuts and brown the butter, the filling for this pie quickly comes together!

A quick word on pie dough: You can make pie dough and store it in the refrigerator 2-3 days in advance. Or you can store it in the freezer 3 months in advance. Just make sure to pull it out of the freezer 24 hours before trying to roll it out. If you choose to buy pie dough, I recommend using one make with all butter. In my opinion, the Trader Joe's pie crust is the only pie crust worth buying.

Brown butter cashew pie

Yield: 8 - 10 slices

Time: About 90 minutes


  • 6 Tablespoons Challenge unsalted butter
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) cashews, toasted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c (240ml) dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 c (100g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dough for 1 (9-inch) pie crust


  1. Heat butter in stainless steel pot with high sides over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Butter will sizzle and foam. Once milk solids look golden brown and smell nutty, remove pot from heat and pour butter into bowl. Set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread cashews in even layer on baking sheet.
  3. Toast cashews for 10 minutes in oven, stirring every few minutes. Cashews are done when lightly browned.
  4. Whisk eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Add cooled brown butter. Set aside.
  5. Roll out chilled pie dough into 12-inch diameter circle. Place dough in 9-inch pie dish. Fold overhanging edges back over itself to create sturdier crust. Use fingers to flute edges.
  6. Spread toasted cashews evenly inside bottom of pie crust. Pour filling over cashews.
  7. Place pie on baking sheet and put in oven. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is just set. If necessary, place crust shield over pie edges if crust is browning too quickly. Or tent aluminum foil over top of pie if it is all browning too quickly.
  8. Remove pie from oven and place on cooling rack.
  9. Slice and serve pie with whipped cream or ice cream once cooled.
  10. Store leftover pie in refrigerator for up to 5 days.


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