Phew, Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and Cranberry is long title, and a title where there’s no pun, sarcasm, or play on any words in general. I think that’s a first for me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever titled an entry with just the name of the dish. New Year, new title, but it sounds SO good, doesn’t it? I could say it over and over without getting bored.
Happy New Year, everyone! I’m back with some resolutions, and one of the most incredible pies I’ve had the pleasure of making and gorging on. I would like to call it New Years Whoohoo Pie, but it’s already been created by Christina Tosi of Momofuku pastry fame. Does crack pie ring a bell? I call her the goddess of milk powder and cookie crumbs! Actually, this pie contains no milk powder whatsoever, but it does contains crumbs, and wow, lots of amazing crumbs, as in cinnamon toast crumbs, but REAL cinnamon toast crumbs, not the cereal that’s supposed to emulate cinnamon toast.
Before I continue on with this amazing pie, I’d like to present to you my New Year’s resolutions for 2011. No, these are not your typical resolutions because I’ve come to the conclusion that they never work out anyway, so why not keep them on a more doable level?
1. I will never again order deep-fried, breaded, colossal or jumbo shrimp. What you almost always get is a medium butterflied shrimp, pounded paper thin, then coated with enough batter and bread crumbs to feed a small country. Never again will I have to ask, “Where’s the shrimp?”as I peel away the armor of breading.
2. Learn a little Italian, but not because it’s been a goal of mine, but because my Photoshop is now Italian, and continues to be so even after several re- installations in which I checked ENGLISH every.single.time, about a gazillion times. Apri means open! Off to a great start!.
3. Fight the spellcheck powers that be to incorporate and recognize culinary words and terms. Come on, just give me ganache!
OK, back to this phenomenal pie. Whenever I see a recipe of Christina Tosi’s, I always think, either ‘WOW! Must try!” or “I wish I had thought of that!” I mean, the concept of a a cinnamon toast crumb crust is almost too obvious, yet, no one thought of it or executed it until she did, and it’s brilliant, not to mention incredibly perfect, delicious and addicting. The cinnamon toast croutons, prior to grinding for crust, could be a snack on their own, and should be sold as one!
Even if the filling isn’t your cup o’ tea as far as your palatable preferences go, you cannot live the rest of your life without making this crust, or even just the croutons, once; just once! However, once you make it, you’ll want to make it again..and again..and again..and again; trust me on this one.
Whenever I either A) miss taking photos of certain steps, or, B) the photos just don’t turn out, I always find a way to cobble together something that shows, well, something. Look! That’s a half cup of mashed sweet potato on your bottom left!
The filling is also pretty awesome, and it’s just the right amount of sweetness. Rich brown butter solids, milk and brown sugar, set with gelatin, then folded together with a combination of whipped heavy cream and sour cream. It literally melts in your mouth.
Nothing wrong with plain and unadorned.
The recipe calls for a cranberry puree topping with a sweet potato – white chocolate ganache piped around the perimeter of the pie. I took the opposite route; I spread the sweet potato ganache on top of the pie, and then accented each slice with a spoonful of whole cranberry sauce. This was not because I’m not a huge fan of cranberries, but because it just made more sense for some reason. I feel a little tartness is sufficient, and frankly, the sweet potato ganache is more than worthy of being a part of each and every bite.
In conclusion, I have one more resolution. Try more of Christina Tosi’s recipes.
Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (I used one heaping teaspoon)
- 4 cups diced crusts and end pieces from 1 loaf of packaged white bread (10 ounces of crusts)
- 2 teaspoons plain powdered gelatin
- 2 tablespoons water
- Reserved browned butter solids from melted butter for Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust
- 1 cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Kosher salt
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup mashed sweet potatoes
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup whole cranberry sauce (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325°. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the butter is golden brown, about 8 minutes; strain into a glass measuring cup. Reserve the browned butter solids for the Brown Butter Custard Pie.
- Pour half of the melted butter into a bowl. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and bread, and toss. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden. Let cool.
- Rewarm the remaining butter; pour into a food processor. Add the croutons and pulse to fine crumbs; spoon the crumbs into a 10-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Press the crumbs over the bottom and sides of the pie plate; refrigerate the crust until chilled, 15 minutes.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water and let stand until softened, 3 minutes. Microwave at high power for 10 seconds, until melted. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, microwave the reserved brown butter solids with the milk, sugar, ⅛ teaspoon of the cinnamon and a pinch of salt until warm. Whisk in the gelatin and refrigerate until set.
- In a bowl, whisk ¾ cup of the heavy cream and sour cream to soft peaks. Whisk the custard to loosen it, then fold into the whipped cream. Pour the custard into the Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and butter. Add the mashed sweet potatoes, the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt; whisk until smooth. (I did this over a double boiler aka bowl over pot with simmering water)
- My change - Spoon the sweet potato ganache over the pie and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes. Cut the pie into wedges and top each slice with a spoonful of cranberry sauce (if desired).