The day has arrived. The day that I’ve been brainstorming ideas for all month. Its Pi Day. I missed it last year, so I knew I had to concoct something this year. I scoured cookbooks and magazines and kept coming back to this. Cinnamon Bun Pie. It’s far from your average pie. It has a dough crust instead of flaky pastry and the filling is a rich and smooth cheesecake, layered with brown butter and cinnamon. To top it off, a crunchy, sweet streusel.
In a way, cinnamon bun pie is a ‘lazy’ cinnamon roll. There’s no rolling and cutting involved. Instead of smearing or drizzling cream cheese frosting over the fresh-from-the-oven rolls, you simply make it into a filling and pop it into the oven.
This recipe is from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook and can look intimidating with all the different steps, but I assure you, it’s not complicated. It requires some planning ahead, such as making the cheesecake filling and allowing it to cool completely and giving yourself about an hour for the dough to be ready. You also should let the baked pie cool completely which allows the cheesecake filling to set fully. Rest assured, the wait is completely worth it!
Cinnamon Bun Pie
To make the Pie
- 1 recipe Mother Dough proofed (recipe follows)
- 3 tbsp flour — for dusting
- 1/4 cup brown butter
- 1 recipe liquid cheesecake recipe follows
- 1/4 cup brown sugar tightly packed
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 recipe cinnamon streusel recipe follows
- 275 g bread flour — you can use all purpose if that’s all you have
- 6 g 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
- 190 g water at room temperature
- grapeseed oil
- 1 – 8 oz block cream cheese
- 150 g sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
To make the Mother Dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixter, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Slowly add the water while you continue to stir. Mix for 1 minute by hand until the mixture has become a shaggy mess.
Engage the bowl and dough hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and cohesive.
Knead 4 more minutes or until it looks like a wet ball – it should bounce back when lightly poked.
To make the cheesecake
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese on 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 well combined. Scrape down the bowl.
In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt. Then mix in the milk and egg into one uniform mixture.
Pour the egg and cornstarch miture 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 6x6 inch cake pan.
Bake for 15 minutes. It is done when the middle is still jiggly but the outside is slightly set. Keep in the fridge for 1 week.
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.
The dough stays good at this point for 3 days in a well wrapped container. Bring the dough to room temperature before using.
To make the streusel
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar until well combined.
Lightly toss the dry mixture with the melted butter and vanilla until almond-size clusters form.
To Make the pie
Heat 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 your dough (like your making a pizza) and roll it to about 11 inches in diameter and about 1/4 to 1/2 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.
Gently spread the remaining brown butter over the cheesecake layer and spread it as evenly as your can.
Scatter the brown sugar over the butter. Tap it down with the back of your hand to keep it in place.
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.
Recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar