Position a rack in the center of the oven, set a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 425°F.
Pour the granulated sugar into a 3-quart, heavy-duty saucepan set over medium heat and sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the sugar. Stir occasionally or swirl the pan to encourage the sugar to melt. When the sugar has melted, increase the heat to medium high. Watch the bubbling sugar syrup carefully and as the edges turn golden, gently swirl the pan (but do not stir the syrup directly) for even cooking. Continue to let the syrup cook until it is a nice, rich caramel color (a pale gold syrup will not make a flavorful sauce base). The total cooking time is about 5 minutes. Off the heat, carefully add the cream and butter to the pan—it will foam dramatically. Add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Whisk in the pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until smooth. One at a time, whisk in the eggs. Pour the filling into the pie shell, smooth the top, and put the pie on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until the center of the pie no longer wobbles when the pan is nudged (a slight jiggle is okay), 25 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool completely before serving.
Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Photo: Scott Phillips