To help raise money for a local non-profit here in Lawrence, the Sunrise Project, I said I would donate a pie to their annual pie auction. Since I like to try new things, I decided to try this new pie recipe as my donation, which I found a while back while perusing Pinterest. If you like the flavor of cinnamon, this pie is for you because the cinnamon flavor is strong, but in the best way, and the filling has a cheesecake-like texture. You could eat this pie any time of year but it really lends itself to the fall and winter seasons. Please tell me your thoughts about it in the comments section!
All-Butter Pie Dough Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup ice water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Yields: 2 9-inch pie crusts
If you have the time and space, freeze or chill as many of these ingredients/tools as you can to keep everything as cool as possible while you make the dough. (When your butter is cold when it is placed in the oven, the water in it evaporates quickly, leaving behind a flaky crust. On the other hand, warm butter just melts when it encounters the heat of the oven and has an undesirable effect on the texture of your crust.) You can either make this dough in a bowl with your hands or you can make it in a stand mixer. Either way is fine but I prefer to use my hands. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the cold butter cubes and mix until you have flour covered pea-sized lumps of butter, which will contribute to a flaky crust, as long as you do not continue and overmix. Sprinkle the vinegar and ice water over the dough and then mix minimally, just until the dough barely holds together when you squeeze a handful in your fist. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours. Remove the disks from the refrigerator and use your rolling pin to thwack each one numerous times on each side to make the cold dough more pliable. (Read an article about this process here: http://skillet.lifehacker.com/for-better-pie-crust-resort-to-violence-1798295233) Roll each disk out between two sheets of parchment paper and then transfer each crust to a pie pan. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the rest of your pie.
Cinnamon Pie Filling Ingredients:
2 cups cream cheese, softened
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup flour
7 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Powdered sugar or whipped cream* for garnish (optional)
* Homemade whipped cream recipe can be found here: http://theintuitivebaker.blogspot.com/2015/05/strawberry-mint-shortcakes.html
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and brown sugar on high for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the eggs and egg yolks. Scrape again; set the mixer to low; mix in the heavy cream, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg until smooth. Remove the prepared pie crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling between the 2 crusts. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Jiggle the pies and if the center seems set but not completely firm, they are done. Cool completely, cover, and chill completely. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving and sprinkle with powdered sugar or garnish with whipped cream.