5.29.2012

Cinnamon Bun Pie

I have had this recipe bookmarked for exactly two months. With the lack of a life I have, it's surprising that it took me this long to finally get a chance to make it. I guess there was some laziness involved. But alas, I got off my behind this weekend and finally baked this one of a kind, never-spending-money-on-a-Cinnabon-ever-again, cinnamon bun pie.



Think of everything you have ever wanted in a cinnamon roll. Got it? Now think of that in pie form. That's what we have here. Layers of ooey, gooey, rich, brown buttery, cream cheesy, cinnamony melt in your mouth goodness.



The base of the pie isn't your everyday pie crust. It's actually bread dough and while it's ingredients seem pretty basic, making it is a little more complex. At least, it was for me. I suppose you're bound to run into some problems when you use all-purpose flour rather than the bread flour the recipe calls for. And when you have to convert the amount of yeast from grams into teaspoons. The first issue I had was the dough being too runny(I guess bread flour needs more water than all-purpose), so I added more flour but I didn't want to add too much since the directions said the dough should look like a wet ball.



Well, it got the wet part down alright. After setting it aside to rise for 45 minutes, not only did it still look wet, but it also didn't rise...at all. I did see some bubbles in it though, so I figured it wasn't a lost cause and continued on with the recipe as directed. While I had been waiting for the dough to rise, I made the liquid cheesecake. What is liquid cheesecake, you ask? It's basically cheesecake that has been underbaked so that it's still pliable to spread. Genius, right? Well, genius is Christina Tosi's middle name. Not only is she the brains behind the liquid cheesecake recipe, but she's also the creator of this glorious pie. You can read more about her here.


With my liquid cheesecake and dough ready for action, I got to layering. Right after I made  some brown butter. Yes, that's right, I made brown butter. I can't tell you how long I've been putting off making brown butter because I've always thought it was incredibly hard and just an unnecessary step in general. Any recipe I'd see calling for brown butter would be automatically thrown out the window. Now that I look back on it, I was a fool. Au contraire, brown butter is incredibly easy! I checked out this photo tutorial beforehand and it helped out a great deal. I nailed it on my first try. Yes, I'm showing off a little but I am really proud of myself. I might even list it on my Facebook as a milestone :)



By the way, brown butter smells SO good people. So good that I didn't even really care that my dough didn't/wasn't gonna come out right, I was too busy reveling in the toasty aroma. But at some point, I had to stop reveling and start spreading some on top of the dough, as that was the first step. After the brown butter came some liquid cheesecake, then some more brown butter, some brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, more cheesecake, and then finally, the streusel topping.



Ah, streusel toppings. Each one is better than the last. I was particularly eager to try this one because it had a wonderful addition of oats. Unfortunately, there would be a 40+ minute wait time until I could sink my teeth into it. When I finally took the pie out of the oven, I wasn't even halfway through taking pictures when my brother insisted I give him a piece right then and there. So I did. And that's when I discovered that I needed the arm strength of a javelin thrower to cut through the dough. It got SUPER hard. Mostly the outer edges, but the rest of it was just as difficult to cut through because it was...chewy, for lack of better word. But once my brother took his first bite, I was assured that the state of the dough didn't end up affecting the pie.



"This is mad good", he said. Yeah he may have had some trouble cutting through the slice with his fork, but it was bangin' nonetheless. This, of course, made my mouth water even more because I still had to finish taking pictures before I could dig in. Oh the sacrifices you have to make as a food blogger. Thankfully, the pie was still decently warm when I finally sat down to taste it, so I got to experience it's full magnificence. Which was a whole lot of magnificence by the way. I have never tasted something so similar to Cinnabon. I thought this replica of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls was good, this stuff is so much better. I would even go as far to say that this is even better than the original Cinnabon!



The liquid cheesecake enveloped in that delicious brown butter/brown sugar/cinnamon combination really made the pie shine. And the streusel topping gave the perfect crunch to finish things off. I could not get enough. Portion control, schmortion control. I was breaking my diet anyway, so I might as well do it right.



Although there are a lot of steps involved in this pie,  I assure you, it is worth it. Plus, once you get through things the first time around, every other time after that will be easier for you. However, I don't advise making this pie often no matter how easy it gets if you still want to fit into your clothes. That said, I will probably be making this pie again very soon simply because I need to master that bread dough. The perfectionist in me won't leave it alone until I have the ultimate cinnamon bun pie, crust and all. Whether I decide to purchase bread flour or use my own recipe, I'll be sure to keep you guys updated. So make sure you LIKE the Facebook page!

P.S. Because my dough didn't come out right, I'll be listing the original recipe without my alterations.

Cinnamon Bun Pie

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Ingredients:

1/2 recipe Mother Dough, proofed
30 g (3 tbsp) flour — for dusting
80 g (1/4 cup) brown butter
1 recipe liquid cheesecake
60 g (tightly packed 1/4 cup) brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
2 g (1 tsp) cinnamon
1 recipe cinnamon streusel


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Punch down and flatten the proofed dough. Take a pinch of flour and dust your counter and rolling pin. Stretch/roll/flatten your dough to about 11 inches in diameter and about 1/3 inch thick.

Gently place the dough in your pie pan and press it into place. Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet.

Spread 1/2 the brown butter in an even layer over the dough. Using a separate spoon, carefully spread 1/2 the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the brown butter. Drizzle the remaining brown butter over the cheesecake layer.

Scatter the brown sugar over the butter and cheesecake layer. Then sprinkle evenly with the salt and cinnamon. Gently spread the remaining cheesecake over everything. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon streusel.

Bake the pie for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes give it a little shake. The center should be slightly jiggly but set towards the edges. If you feel you need to bake a bit longer, check every 5 minutes until done.

Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve warm.

To store: Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days (or freezer for up to 1 month!). 
To serve: Slice and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds on 100% power. Or you can preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and warm the whole pie for 10-20 minutes.

Yield: One 10-inch pie

Mother Dough

Ingredients:

550 g (3 1/2 cups) bread flour
12 g (1 tbsp) salt
3.5 g active dried yeast (1/2 a packet)
370 g (1 3/4 cups) room temperature water
grapeseed oil


Directions:

Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Slowly add the water while you continue to stir. Mix for 1 minute.

Mix in your stand mixer with the dough hook on the lowest speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and cohesive. Knead for 4 more minutes or until it looks like a wet ball – it should bounce back when lightly poked.

Brush a large bowl with oil, move the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size. Use as directed. 

Yield: Makes 850 g or 2 lbs (you only need 1/2 this for the pie!)

Liquid Cheesecake 

Ingredients:

1 – 8 oz block cream cheese
150 g (scant 2/3 cup) sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
25 g (1 1/2 tbsp) milk
1 egg


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix the cream cheese in your stand mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until fairly smooth. Scrape down the bowl. Pour in the sugar and mix for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar is mixed in. Scrape down the bowl.

In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt. Then mix in the milk and egg until you form 1 uniform mixture. Pour into the cream cheese mixture and combine on medium low speed for 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrape down the sides and pour into a greased cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes. It is done when the middle is still jiggly but the outside is slightly set.

Cinnamon Streusel

Ingredients:

40 g (1/4 cup) flour
20 g (1/4 cup) rolled oats
2 g (1 tsp) cinnamon
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
30 g (2 tbsp) brown sugar
25 g (2 tbsp) butter, melted
0.5 g (1/8 tsp) vanilla extract


Directions:

In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar until 1 even mixture. Lightly toss the dry mixture with the melted butter and vanilla until almond size clusters form.
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