Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieBrown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieYeah, each of those words are poetry. 

I mean there’s butter, and then there’s BROWN butter. Two very very amazing but very different beauties. Cinnamon Buns are always a winner. {yeah, i don’t get people who don’t like cinnamon. I’m not judging or anything. I just don’t get it, wierdos.} And there’s the best 3 letter word -P-I-E. How in god’s name could anyone not drool or salivate or just clog an artery after hearing Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie. 

I could say it again and again. 

And again.

Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie. 

So let me just start by saying, this one is easier eaten than made. I mean, I didn’t really have an option, because either I fly to NYC to have a slice, or make some at home. Budget demanded I make it at home. I personally would have preferred the former. Just saying, in case my logic seemed fuzzy. {I’m pretty sure the immigration officer would think I’m on crack (pie) if I shared my rationale for a quick weekend trip to the big apple} 

But seriously. I would make this again and again, not because it was easy (it’s really NOT), but purely because the house smelled un-naturally unbelievable. Like WOW.  And to be fair, each bite-ful did taste pretty dam awesome. I made a mistake by serving it for desert. Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie does not amount to a desert, as the ‘pie’ terminology is more to do with the shape it is, the shape the slices are in, and the fact that it’s baked in a pie tin. 

Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieBrown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie
Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie is actually more a bun than pie. It is a highly successful marriage of cinnamon buns and streusel and brown butter. Now which one of those individual parts isn’t highly attractive? Together, with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, just dynamite. Ideally warmed in a microwave for 30-40 seconds till crackling and fragrant, no need for cutlery. This baby is best eaten like a slice of pizza, using you hands and manoeuvring your face so that none of the good stuff falls to the ground.

The bread is slightly chewy when you try fiddling with a fork and knife, but the moment you lift a slice to your mouth, you’ll surely forget all table manners, and justifiably so! Personally, I really like the rise on the bread, and the gorgeous air crevices that made the bread light and pillowy. 

Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieEach layer was painstakingly prepared. I usually don’t fiddle with my kitchen scale, unless its for maybe 1 odd ingredient. I also tend to steer very clear of recipes that involve only weighted measurements, because the lazy in me prefers a cup, a half cup, a third cup and a quarter cup. And some tea spoons and table spoons. I cannot for the life of me fathom measuring 2 grams of salt and 6 grams of cornflour. But this time, I did it. I pulled out that kitchen scale and it supported me very dutifully throughout the process [except maybe once, when I got distracted in added 10gm more of water to the mother dough – which was a grave-ish error]. 

Now while the recipe is described in incredible detail below, my break up would basically be (starting from the bottom):

-mother dough

-1/2 brown butter

-1/2 liquid cheesecake

-balance brown butter

-brown sugar + cinnamon + salt

-balance liquid cheesecake 

-streusel 

I made the liquid cheesecake ahead of time, as it needs to be cooled completely before assembling. I also made the streusel ahead of time, as it keeps well in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The rest was made at the time, as it involved little work – just some measuring and microwaving, all while the mother dough was rising [yep – efficient use of time!]. The bulk of recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook are incredibly complicated, at best, with multiple layers, base recipes and precise toppings.  The end result is, of course, worth the sleepless nights, but I re-iterate, a flight to NYC is always the best option! 

A few amendments by me to the recipe – I used regular salted butter instead of the prescribed unsalted, more so because I didn’t have any unsalted butter at home (and if I had delayed the baking even one more hour, I knew I would have chickened out). I also bungled up on the layering of the butter and sugar, but to be quite honest I think that lapse is almost negligible, given that everything kind of melts and fuses into one big buttery ooze. I didn’t have a 10″ pie dish at home – either a 9″ or 11″ – so I went with the 11″, fearing the loss of the ooze that may ooze out while baking! 

Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieBrown Butter Cinnamon Bun PieA beautiful beautiful recipe, combining the favourites in terms of flavour, texture and essence – but with a Tosi twist. And brown butter

Cinnamon Bun Pie
Serves 8
A note from the chef (as excerpted from the simply wonderful Milk Bar cookbook): When we first opened Milk Bar, at 4 or 5 o’clock every morning we would make fresh cinnamon buns with liquid cheesecake rolled up into the dough instead of applying cream cheese frosting on top. Cinnamon buns are something I feel very strongly about, since my mother started a tradition of making (not-so-great) ones for breakfast on every holiday. (Sorry, Mom, but you can’t give a kid a Cinnabon and then expect her to be OK with cinnamon buns made with margarine and skim milk!) We’d make them before the crack of dawn so they’d be ready for breakfast… and then we’d sell most of them to people on their way home at night, ready to tuck in with dessert and some TV. So we decided to get smart and create something that was delicious, available, and fresh at any hour, and didn’t have to be made to order every morning: The cinnamon bun pie.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 recipe mother dough (recipe below), proofed
  2. 30 g flour, for dusting
  3. 80 g brown butter (recipe linked in above)
  4. 1 recipe liquid cheesecake (recipe below)
  5. 60 g light brown sugar, packed
  6. 1 g sea salt
  7. 2 g ground cinnamon
  8. 1 recipe cinnamon streusel (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 175°F. Punch down and flatten the mother dough.
  2. Take a pinch of flour and throw it acros a smooth dry countertop to lightly coat. Take another pinch of flour and lightly dust a rolling pin. Use the rolling pin to flatten the punched-down circle of dough, then roll out the dough with the rolling pin or stretch the dough out by hand as if you were making a pizza from scratch. Your end goal is to create a large circle that is approximately 11 inches in diameter. Keep your 10-inch pie tin nearby tor reference (or in my case, the 11" pie tin). The 11-inch dough round should be ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  3. Gently place the dough in the pie tin. Alternate between using your fingers and palms of your hands to press the dough firmly into place. Put the pie tin on a sheet pan.
  4. Use the back of a spoon to spread halt of the brown butter in an even layer over the dough.
  5. Use the back of another spoon (you don’t want brown butter in your creamy white cheesecake layer!) to spread half the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the brown butter. Spread the remaining brown butter in an even layer over the liquid cheesecake.
  6. Scatter the brown sugar on top of the brown butter. Dab it down with the back of your hand to help keep it in place. Then sprinkle evenly with the salt and cinnamon.
  7. Now for the trickiest layer: The remaining liquid cheesecake. Stay cool, and spread it as gently as you can to achieve the most even layer possible.
  8. Sprinkle the streusel evenly on top of the cheesecake layer. Use the back of your hand to secure the streusel.
  9. Bake the pie tor 40 minutes. The crust will puff and brown, the liquid cheesecake will set firm, and the streusel topping will crunch up and brown. After 40 minutes, gently shake the pan. The center of the pie should be slightly jiggly. The filing should be set toward the outer boundaries of the pie tin. If some of the filing erupted onto the sheet pan below, don't worry – consider it a snack tor later. It necessary, bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the pie meets the description above.
  10. Cool the pie on a wire rack.
Notes
  1. To store, cool the pie completely and wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, the pie will keep fresh tor 3 days (the crust gets stale quickly); in the freezer, it will keep tor 1 month.
  2. When you are ready to serve the pie, know that it's best served warm! Slice and microwave each slice on high for 30 seconds, or warm the whole pie in a 115°C oven for 10 to 20 minutes, then slice and serve.
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/
IMG_8178IMG_8196

Mother Dough
Yields 850
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 550 g flour
  2. 12 g kosher salt
  3. 3.5 g active dry yeast
  4. 370 g water, at room temperature
  5. grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer—do it by hand, using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring by hand as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together into a shaggy mass.
  2. Engage the bowl and hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, or until the ball of dough is smoother and more cohesive. Then knead for 4 more minutes on the lowest speed. The dough should look like a wet ball and should bounce back softly when prodded.
  3. Brush a large bowl with oil and dump the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/
IMG_8202

Liquid Cheesecake
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 225g cream cheese
  2. 150 g sugar
  3. 12g cornstarch
  4. 2g kosher salt
  5. 25 g milk
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 150°c.
  2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 2 minutes until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the cornflour slurry and paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the batter into the pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.
  6. Cool the liquid cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Refrigerate before using in the cinnamon bun pie!
Notes
  1. Replace 6gm of the cornflour for 1 egg, if you prefer.
  2. I didn't have a 6" tin so I used a 7" pentagon instead. Honestly, I think it worked just fine!
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/
Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie

Cinnamon Streusel
Yields 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 40 g flour
  2. 20 g old-fashioned rolled oats
  3. 2g ground cinnamon
  4. 1 g sea salt
  5. 30 g light brown sugar
  6. 25 g butter, melted
  7. 0.5 g vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Directions
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon salt and brown sugar with a spoon or spatula. Pour in the melted butter and vanilla and toss until almond-size dark oat clusters form.
  3. If you’re making the pie the same day, the streusel can wait out on the counter. If you’re making the streusel in advance, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. Since I used salted butter, I skipped the salt mentioned here, fearing it may become almost savoury instead of just balanced.
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/

3 Comments on Brown Butter Cinnamon Bun Pie

  1. Anushi
    March 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Puja,
    Recipe looks amazing!
    I have a few questions:
    1. Where do we get brown butter?
    2. Whats kosher salt? And where can we find it?
    3. Is it OK to make this recipe without a weighing scale?

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Puja
      March 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Anushi — for the brown butter I use a shortcut – microwave in a heat proof bowl with a loose cover/dish on top for 4-4 1/2 mins, till brown and nutty. For the kosher salt, local stores stock Himalayan sea salt or Maldon sea salt. Both work well, and if you don’t want to buy sea salt, use half the quantity of regular table salt.

      The Milk Bar cookbooks gives corresponding cup measures, so you can easily find that on the web. Happy baking!

      Reply
  2. Maria
    November 27, 2018 at 5:56 am (9 months ago)

    Did your dough rise? The pictures in her books shows a very puff crust. I did this recipe, from the book, several times but the doughC but the crust never seems to get the right texture. I think Christina Tosi is saving some secrets for herself.

    Reply

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