Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

The Road to Honey's Most Popular Recipes of 2016 - Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust


First, let’s get down to important business.  My Irish Creme Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mint Oreo Bark was just featured in the Buzzfeed article “21 Ridiculously Tasty Treats Made With Baileys Irish Cream”.  You can find it, along with 20 other tantalizing treats, HERE.  You can also find my original post for this recipe HERE.

Now on to this creamy, dreamy Bourbon Pumpkin Pie.

I had every intentions of sharing it with you before the Thanksgiving holiday;  however, the Mr. & I spent our Thanksgiving streamlining & packing up our belongings for yet another move. In case you are not up-to-speed on all my drama, this would be our second move in the past 3 months.


Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Seed Crust


This move was HIGHLY inconvenient to say the least;  however, desperate situations call for desperate measures.  You see, back in May we put a contract on a church that was being converted into what we thought would be unique & spectacular condos.

Prior to that, we had been living in a fantastic rental in the city, complete with 180 degree ocean views, off street parking (a highly coveted luxury in Boston) & a massive deck that enabled us to enjoy the para-surfers, cruise ships, intoxicating ocean breezes, & an occasional Johnny Depp sighting (read about that HERE).

Unfortunately the lease on this rental was up before the church was ready, so we had no choice but to pack up our little menagerie of pets & move into temporary housing in the suburbs as we anxiously waited for them to complete construction.

You might be wondering why on Earth we didn’t just find another place to rent in the city?   Finding a short term lease in Boston is virtually impossible &, if you are lucky enough to come across one, rest assured you will be paying through the nose for it.  Given this, the Mr & I were willing to bite the bullet & live in less than ideal conditions with the comfort of knowing that we would be moving into our very own home before the 3 month lease was even up.

But life couldn’t be this easy, now could it?  The evil Developer pushed deadline after deadline back, which meant we would need to spend another month & then another in the temporary housing that we loathingly referred to as our dark & depressing “cave”.

Each extension meant that the Mr. would have to endure a horrid 4 hour commute yet another month.  It also meant that I would continue to complain about the lack of natural light in the apartment & how difficult it was to take photos of food in such awful conditions.  The Mr., being the “fixer” that he is, started forwarding articles to me on cave photography.  Nice one, honey.


Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Seed Crust

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Seed Crust 10 (1 of 1)


It started to become very obvious that one, if not both, of us would lose our minds if we continued to live in “the cave”.

I should also mention that when we placed the contract on the church, it was nothing but a shell.   We had no idea what the finishes would ultimately look like.  It was considered a “luxury” property, so I naturally assumed they would be similar to other luxury properties in the area.  Boy was I wrong!  They looked cheap, cheap, cheap & the evil Developer told us that the materials had already been ordered so we could not upgrade key features, such as the kitchen cabinets.  The last straw for me was seeing the teeny tiny kitchen sink & being told that they couldn’t change it.  “What?!!!  You’re kidding right?  I can’t even wash a cookie sheet in that sink!”

So. . .while I was in Patagonia, the Mr. made the decision to pull out of the contract on the church & instead sign a 9 month lease on an apartment that has the most heavenly city views that you will ever lay your eyes on.  Every time my eyes meet that view, I can hardly believe it is real – it is that spectacular.  In the morning, the rising sun magically casts a pink glow on the high-rises, making them seem all the more surreal.   And if that didn’t make me giddy enough. . ..   those are the very views that I see while I am busily working away in the kitchen, creating each & every dish that I will be sharing with you on The Road to Honey.


Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Seed Crust


While I made preparations to move, packing up box after box, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to also bake a bunch of these Bourbon Pumpkin Pies with Black Sesame Crust.  After being in Patagonia for several weeks, I was itching to get back in the kitchen, even if it meant cutting dough & packing up my socks, undies, & pots & pans in between.  The Mr. looked at me like I was a raging lunatic, but a girls got to bake.  So onward I went. . .baking pie after pie & taking a swig of bourbon in between for good measure.

So here they are – the most divine Bourbon Pumpkin Pies that your taste buds will ever meet. And to give these Bourbon Pumpkin Pies a little extra “je nai se qui”, I decided to add ground black sesame seeds to their crust.  Oh, & a sprinkling of turbinado sugar for a nice crunch.

If you want to decorate your pies with leaves, snowflakes or gingerbread man for the upcoming winter festivities (Bourbon Pumpkin Pie isn’t just for Thanksgiving, you know?),  you will want to double up on the crust.  I pre-baked the cutouts  & attached them to the top of the pie crust with the egg wash during the last 30 minutes of baking.  I then placed the remaining pre-baked leaves on the pie itself once it was removed from the oven.

Well. . .that’s it for now.  If you are interested in some stellar pie baking tips, I recommend taking a peak at Food 52’s article “Everything you need to know about pie crust” (find it HERE) & their comprehensive compilation of other pie making essentials (find it HERE).





P.S.  If you enjoyed your time at The Road to Honey, I would love for you to join my on Instagram,  Facebook, or Bloglovin.  Or you could receive updates from my blog by entering your e-mail address in the top right corner box.  See you soon.

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

Yield: 6-8 slices

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

With brown butter and a splash of bourbon this Bourbon Pumpkin Pie is an update on a classic holiday favorite. And its nestled in a black sesame crust.


    For the Black Sesame Crust:
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg (both egg white & yolk)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • For the Bourbon Pumpkin Pie:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1 cup evaporated milk


    For the Black Sesame Crust:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the water, vinegar, and ice. Set aside.
  2. In a big bowl, mix the flour, sesame seeds, granulated sugar, & salt until they are evenly distributed.
  3. Quickly cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces & add them to the flour mixture. Coat the butter with flour by stirring it around.
  4. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Continue to do this until you are left with pea sized pieces. You want your crust to be flaky so take care not to over blend.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the water-vinegar mixture over the dough.
  6. Use a spatula to mix the dough together. Continue to add the water-vinegar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. The final product should feel dry to the touch, but should easily come together.
  7. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic wrap & refrigerate it for at least 1 hour; however, overnight is ideal.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge. To minimize cracking, allow the dough to it "warm up" at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  9. While the dough is "warming", butter a 9 inch pie pan.
  10. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 inch thick and forms a 11-12 inch round.
  11. Place the dough into a well buttered pie place.
  12. Fold the dough overhang under & crimp the edges. If you have too much overhang, you can always trim it a bit.
  13. Cover the pie shell in plastic & place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  14. Position oven racks so they are in the center & on the bottom. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack & preheat the oven to 425° F.
  15. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator & line it with aluminum foil. Place pie weights, or enough beans to cover the entire bottom, on top of the aluminum foil.
  16. Place the pie pan on top of the pre-heated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the crimped edges are set but not browned.
  17. Remove the pan & baking sheet from the oven, lift out the foil & pie weights/beans. Allow the crust to cool for a couple of minutes.
  18. In the meantime, whisk together the egg white (reserve the yolk) & 1 teaspoon of water.
  19. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of the egg white mixture to the sides & bottom of the crust. This will help keep the crust from getting soggy.
  20. Place the pie pan back onto the baking sheet & return both to the oven's middle rack. Bake for an additional 3 minutes.
  21. Remove from the oven & allow the crust to cool completely before adding the filling.
  22. For the Bourbon Pumpkin Pie:
  23. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color.
  24. Once the butter becomes nutty, immediately whisk in the brown sugar. Carefully whisk in the water.
  25. Bring the mixture to a boil & continue to simmer until a candy thermometer reads 225° F.
  26. Remove the caramelized mixture from the heat & slowly add the cream. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  27. Set aside & allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  28. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
  29. Place the pumpkin puree, bourbon, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, & allspice into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
  30. With the food processor running on low, stream in brown butter and cream mixture.
  31. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, & salt & stream into the pumpkin mixture. Lastly, stream in the evaporated milk.
  32. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust.
  33. Whisk together the egg yolk & 1 tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer onto top of the crust. Sprinkle turbinado over the top.
  34. Place the pie pan on top of the rimmed baking sheet & bake on the middle rack for 45-55 minutes. To insure even cooking, 30-35 minutes into baking rotate the pan 180 degrees.
  35. If you notice the crust is being too brown, wrap strips of aluminum foil around it & continue baking the pie until done.
  36. The pie will be done when the edges are set & the center is no longer liquid. The center should still be a bit wobbly (note: the pie will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven).
  37. Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack for 2-3 hours.
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Slightly adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book (See HERE and HERE).

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Pie Crust

52 thoughts on “Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust

  • December 7, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    So sorry about all your moving, housing problems – what a nightmare. How stressful – on top of all the holiday stress. I’m glad you’ve got it all sorted out and found a wonderful apartment. As for these pies – so gorgeous – love the different pastry decorations on the top. And yes please to a little bourbon in my pumpkin pie!

    • December 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks Geraldine. It has been quite the nightmare. . .but the Mr. and I are so happy with where we are at now (even if it is a rental). . .so all is good. I’ve recently fallen in love with pie making. . .so you can expect to see more of these beauties in the future.

  • December 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Girlfriend, I feel for you.. moving that many times in such a short span is torture! Plus finding out your dream house is more of a nightmare before Christmas situation, totally sucks. BUT, sounds like your new digs are amazing! Post pictures (I’m nosy!)! Anyways, loving your commitment to food and thes pies!! The bourbon in here has me swooning and the black sesame seeds sound delish! This is a pumpkin pie I can support. And devour! Cheers, doll!

    • December 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Ha! Ha! Torture is an understatement Cheyanne. As for the “dream house”. . .the Mr and I are viewing this as a blessing in disguise. I’m sure there is something even dreamier out there for us. . .only time will tell. No problems with posting pictures. . .but I don’t want to make you too jealous 😉

  • December 8, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Oh mannnnn – not fun! This only means that it was not meant to be and the home of your dreams is still waiting for you! But I am happy you have the consolation prize of the sun casting a pink glow over your city-scape. Sounds like my experience in Paris – I swear – the air is pink. Okay pie! This looks so rich and decadent…just perfect for the holidays! Brava!

    • December 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      I completely agree with you Annie. . .this is why I am not upset over the whole situation and I believe there must be something better for us out there . . .it’s just a matter of finding it.

      We currently are living in Seaport . . .which is fantastic because it is by all of the restaurants and near the water. While we are still renting (I really want my own house. . .but we can’t seem to find one that feels right) I really love taking the elevator down to the fitness center (no freezing your buns off to work out) and having a concierge that takes care of everything. Plus.. .there is a dog run. . .so no need to take the dog out when the brutal weather hits *which we all remember Boston’s last winter). Win-win.

  • December 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I hate moving! Sorry for all that! These pies look gorgeous! Beautiful job! Pinning!

    • December 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Moving isn’t fun. . .but on the positive side. . .it is a good opportunity to purge your belongings (especially when you keep downsizing. . .ahhh! city living). 😉

  • December 8, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Well I was in when you said “bourbon”. I love this idea and I’m sure my house guests for Christmas will too! I went through a long period of camping out in my house when I was building it. Some of the stories are on my blog, it was awful, but the end result has been worth it all.

    Glad you have a better place to hang for a while!

    • December 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      I just knew you would love the bourbon. 😉 These will keep your house guests all nice and toasty during the holidays (especially if you give them an extra swig of the bourbon). Thankfully we haven’t had to resort to “camping out”. . .but there has been lots of packing and unpacking. . .which is painful in of itself.

  • December 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    We move move a lot too due to my husbands job. I can completely feel your pain. But on a brighter note, you have pie! The bourbon pumpkin filling sounds fantastic with the black sesame crust. I could dive right in!

    • December 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Yes indeedy. . .I definitely have pie. . .and cake. . .and cookies. . .and will soon need a bigger pair of pants 😉

  • December 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    What a gorgeous dessert- it really does look both beautiful and delicious. The perfect combination for a holiday table!

  • December 9, 2015 at 10:26 am

    So glad to hear you like your new place. There is nothing like a good view, especially when it’s from the kitchen. What an outstanding idea to add black sesame to the pie crust. And I’ve spiked a lot of pies, but have yet to it with pumpkin. It looks great!

    • December 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more Lori. When the Mr. and I look for a place. . .we always try to find one that has an interesting view. Our previous place had an ocean view and the one before that in Kenya had a forest view. . .so we are long overdue for a fantastic city view.

      You must spike the next pumpkin pie you make. It is quite divine.

  • December 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Ahhh, what a nightmare! But I’m glad it worked out and you get to live in a fab apartment now. I had to laugh when you described your guy “fixing” your lighting problem – totally sounds like my hubs! And this pie! It is gorgeous! Love the sesme crust, that is so unique. Pinning!

    • December 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Yeah. . .the hubs never seems to miss an opportunity to be a smart aleck. But at least he was trying to make light of a less-than-ideal situation. . .I’ll give him that.

      As for the pie, I really love the texture the sesame crust adds to it. BTW. . .this pie really peeked my interest in pie making so look for more in the near future.

  • December 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Oh I know all about those movings woes!! It never gets easier. This pie is totally up my alley because BOURBON. Pinned!

    • December 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Yes! Bourbon! It helps make the moving woes all the more tolerable. 😉

  • December 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Ugh… moving sucks! I moved more times than I can count and I hate it a little more each time. I hope your new place with spectacular views will be home for quite awhile now. So not only is the pie GORGEOUS, but I’m loving the bourbon filling and the black sesame crust – how creative. Oh, and congrats on the buzzfeed feature!

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Tell me about it Kathleen. It does seem like it gets more difficult with each and every move although I feel like this last move was a bit easier than the previous move (probably because half of my stuff is now split between 2 storage cabinets). Despite everything, the Mr. and I are enjoying living in this part of the city. . .and of course we still can’t get over the view. I mean. . .how easy is it to find unobstructed views of the city? Not very.

  • December 9, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Congrats on the Buzzfeed article! I’m sorry about all your moving drama. At least you have this luscious pie!!! Seriously. This pie is a beauty! I don’t have the patience for pie crusts very often, so I’m always in awe when people create such lovely, intricate pies like this. Pinned!!!

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Yes Meagan. . .the pie was a great distraction from the move. . .even if I kept hearing the Mr. tell me I needed to get my priorities straight. I thought of you when I added the bourbon. 😉 As for the crust. . .I didn’t think I had the patience for pie crust. . .but I am finding it is not as difficult as I used to think. . .and a lot of fun to get creative with.

  • December 10, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Omg this situation sounds totally outrageous! I’m so sorry about the ridiculously drama of your move, but overall it sounds like you have a much much better situation now. I LOVE this pie- looks absolutely divine. Beautifully lit photos 🙂

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:41 am

      It seems that life is always full of dramas. . .I guess that is what keeps it interesting. The Mr. and I definitely feel that things worked out for the better in the end. And we have not given up on our house search. We are willing to wait for the right place to come along (we have been looking for 3 years). Many thanks on the compliments on my photos. It means a lot.

  • December 10, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Oh no, so sorry to hear about all of that! We’ve moved so much in the past few years too and I’m really hoping we can stay a while this time. This pie is gorgeous, Lynn! I love the bourbon filling with black sesame crust!

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Tell me about it Kelly. . .moving is definitely a drag. It’s sad when the movers finish the job and tell you “see you in a few months”. Glad you love the pie Kelly. I’ve started to discover my love for pie making.

  • December 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Haha! Sending the articles about cave photography is something that my husband would do too. I’m glad you got out of your cave dwelling. Your new apartment sounds spectacular! Might it be hard to part with when your house is done?

    Your pies are B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! I can’t believe you made them in the midst of moving chaos! The black sesame crust and leaves are super special touches. I would make a bee-line to this pie if I saw these pies on the dessert table.

    Congratulations on another feature!!

    • December 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Yeah. . .the Mr. is always a jokester. But let me tell you, I sure am glad I now can burn those cave photography manuals. As for the house. . .we pulled out of the contract given lack of communication, being jerked around and the overall displeasure on the finishes (which could not be changed). So we won’t be worrying about abandoning these views any time soon.

      Thanks for the compliments on the pies. I love to challenge myself by doing crazy things (which I often regret once I am in the thick of it). But that’s what keeps life interesting, isn’t it?

  • December 10, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Yummmm this sounds so amazing and I have a serious thing for black sesame. I can just imagine that beautiful view of yours.

    Pink Wings

    • December 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Black Sesames are pretty spectacular, aren’t they Gina. I’m so glad that I have been able to find them at my local grocery store.

      And yes. . .the views are pretty awesome. They make up for the place being so small. . .but such is city living.;-)

  • December 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    REALLY sorry to hear about all that, buy boy am I glad things are settling down and you have your space. Everything happens for a reason and I am sure there’s something wonderful waiting to happen. I promise.
    Hun, your pictures are awesome no matter what, low light, no light or full sun. Congrats on the feature how awesome is that. Yay.
    Lynn, I can eat pumpkin with all additions any time and this is a black sesame crust, I really could eat the whole thing.
    Looking forward to your secret ingredient cake.
    Pinning this.

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more Ash. I’m not upset that the church didn’t work out. I think it was probably a blessing in disguise. As for the new apartment, we’ll see how long we ultimately stay here. It is a great location with amazing views. . .but it is still too small to properly house all of our belongings (that’s city living for you).

      Blushing on the compliments on my photographs. Practice makes perfect and I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with controlling the light. I’m still working on improving the styling. I like to think that I have an eye for style. . .but styling food is a whole new animal (as has been photographing food).

      He! He! love keeping everyone in suspense over the next cake. Christmas baking has put the post on a bit of a back burner. Stay tuned.

  • December 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I am so intrigued by the black sesame pie crust. It sounds wonderful!

    • December 13, 2015 at 6:30 am

      Thank you Mary. I think it adds a nice textural dimension to the crust.

  • December 12, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    We just moved last year so I know the feeling! But you still came up with this show-stopper of a pie! I love the additional touch of the sesame seeds – another dimension of flavor to this delicious pie!

    • December 13, 2015 at 6:27 am

      Thank you Abigail. I found baking the pies as a nice way to take a break from all the packing. . .even if it did add a bit more chaos to the day.

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Black sesame always seem to make a dish all the more special, don’t they Jacquee?

  • December 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Awesome twist on pumpkin pie-love it!

  • December 14, 2015 at 3:36 am

    What a lovely looking pie. I really need to rectify the fact that I’ve never tasted pumpkin pie! I love the idea of black sesame in the pastry.

    Hope the house move went OK, it’s an horrid task – I do not envy you! x

    • December 14, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Oh my Angela. You really do need to experience pumpkin pie at least once in your life. It is the perfect treat for fall weather, appropriately celebrating the flavors of fall.

      As for the move. . .it went well. We are nearly unpacked, artwork was hung this weekend, and we have fully figured out how to best utilize the space. Sadly, we now have 2 different storage facilities housing our belongings that don’t fit into the space, including our dining table, china, and antiques from Africa.

  • December 14, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Also, it’s snowing on your blog and it’s my favorite thing EVER!!!

  • December 18, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Combining bourbon and pumpkin in a pie is a seriously genius move! I love how you decorated the crusts too!

    • December 20, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thank you Jessica. Bourbon always makes everything tastes a little bit better.

    • October 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Awww thanks Aimee. It was quite tasty. I’m in Capri right now. . .dreaming about getting back so that I can catch up on all my baking.

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