Cinnamon Roll Pie
Y2, Week Five: Summer Was So Yesterday Pie
Spring in southern Wisconsin is maybe best described as bipolar. It isn’t so much a period of pleasant, mild weather as it is a violent lurching between winter and summer until one of them (hopefully summer) sticks. Just a couple of weeks ago we had a 95° day immediately followed by a day with lows cold enough to bring on frost warnings. Only the foolish and uninitiated put away their winter clothes, and you can gauge how long someone’s been living here by the number of layers they’re wearing. Like a tree’s rings. Two layers in May? Newbie.
Although last week was technically almost July and “should have” been 80°, we had a prolonged period of 55° and drizzle. It was the kind of damp and chilly that made me crave the comfort foods of winter and fall. More specifically, I got maniacally fixated on homemade doughnuts and cinnamon rolls. I’d sit all day at work, wearing my two mandatory sweaters, fantasizing about cinnamon rolls, hot from the oven, covered in gooey icing. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
And then it hit me, this could be pie! I’m ashamed that it’s taken me five weeks to get around to a truly non-traditional crust, but, well, better late than never.
There is a risk of the dough rising so much that it fills the whole pan, leaving no room for the filling. But if that does happen, you can always use a sharp knife to carve out a well for the custard. When you live in a place where you don’t know if you’re going to wake up in a rainforest or the frozen tundra on any given day, you have to embrace uncertainty. I’ve got my tank top and sweaters ready, bring it on!
- Milk from Sassy Cow Creamery.
- Eggs from New Century Farms.
CINNAMON ROLL PIE
Cinnamon Roll Crust
Adapted from “Cinnamon Roll Muffins”
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp white vinegar
3 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cups brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Mix together brown sugar, salt, vanilla and egg into a large bowl. Add the milk and vinegar. Mix together with a fork. Add the flour. Stir until thoroughly combined with a large spoon – as with all muffin doughs, be careful not to over mix!
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for a minute or two, adding more flour if dough is too sticky. Roll the dough into a roughly 15″ by 24″ rectangle. Spread with butter. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle over entire dough. Use fingers to spread sugar mix evenly over the dough.
All right, you now have two options: the easy way or the hard(er) way. Either works.
The Easy Way
Fold dough in half, sugared side in, and place gently in greased and floured pie pan. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim edges of dough to make 1/2-inch overhang (best done with kitchen scissors). Tuck overhanging dough under so that folded edge is flush with rim of pan and edge stand up over the top of the pan. Flute the edges with your fingers. Chill shell until firm, about 1 hour. Place pie weights in the shell before baking.
The Hard Way
Cut dough into 1-1 1/4″ strips and fold in half lengthwise. Starting in the middle of the pan, coil dough strips with the folded side down. Attach new strip onto the last with some water. Fill the bottom of pan and continue to coil the dough up and a bit over the sides. You may want to use some water on the sides of the strips to help it stick together up the sides of the pan. Chill shell until firm, about 1 hour.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely (overnight, wrapped to prevent it from drying out, is best).
If the dough rises too much in the oven, not leaving room for filling, you can carve it out a bit with a knife to create room.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vanilla
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod and add with remaining pod to pan. Slowly whisk in milk, constantly stirring until it’s steaming and slightly thickened. Remove bean pod.
In a separate bowl slowly pour about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks by whisking constantly. Whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture; stirring continuously. Switching to a heat proof spatula, stir in the butter and vanilla and continue to cook until mixture thickens. At first the mixture with become quite lumpy, keep stirring and eventually it will smooth out and thicken to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Then fill the pie shell, leaving some of the crust showing. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Note: The following decorations are optional.
2 tsp maple syrup
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Thoroughly mix together maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl. With a knife, bbq skewer, or chopstick, carve a shallow, spiral groove into the top of the top of the firm custard. Then, with the same instrument, a small spoon, or piping bag with tiny tip, fill the groove with the cinnamon mixture. There may be leftover.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp whole milk or cream
In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and cream until smooth. Place in a piping bag with a small tip or in a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny bit of the corner snipped off. Decorate the top of the pie in any pattern that pleases you, and looks cinnamon rolly.