I am feeling all the feels (shock, disbelief, fear, disgust, grief, sadness, betrayal, etc) this week, as are many Americans. Again, I don’t reeeeeally want to get into politics here (even though you can totally figure out who I was pulling for), but I think a lot of us are still reeling from the election results. And probably will be for some time. So when all else fails, we should all eat some pie. Don’t you think? It is the All-American dessert, after all.
So, here’s the thing about this pie. It is a labor of love. And stubbornness. I attempted this recipe three times before it finally worked (if you follow along on snapchat, then you already know this), and despite my frustrations at the time, I think it was worth the extra tries.
A couple years ago, I saw this cool idea for making pie crust into cinnamon rolls and using them as your pie crust. It’s taken me this long to attempt it. And ya know what? It was trickier than it looks! I had two fails before getting it just right, and now you get to reap the benefits! They keys for me were reducing the butter-sugar filling and chilling the dough before slicing it into rounds. Once I figured that out and got over my “it needs to be PERFECT” mantra, things went really well.
As you can see from the pictures, despite my attempt at a good attitude, my crust still didn’t come out quite as perfectly as the above link’s pictures, but at least it tasted fantastic. It ended up being kind of fun in the end, too. Plus! Who doesn’t want to find ways to incorporate cinnamon rolls into every aspect of their lives?! I know I do. They’re, hands down, one of my fave carbs.
This cheesecake pie is a total hybrid. It’s part cinnamon roll. It’s part pie. It’s part cheesecake. It even has a coffee crumble topping! I mean. I really went kind of nuts here.
After my crust woes, I decided to take the easy way out and make both the cheesecake and streusel components no bake. Which, really, makes this dessert perfect for Thanksgiving. It’s one less thing you have to use the oven for. No warming is even required. That is, of course, assuming that you make your pie crust and assemble things ahead of time…which you totally should if you’re planning on serving this up for a crowd on that super-busy day. Allowing ample chilling time for this one will lead to pie perfection.
The cheesecake filling is to die for. Like, it tastes like dreams. And I’m not even a huge cheesecake fan! I enjoy a bite or two here and there, but it would never-ever-ever trump cookies, brownies, or ice cream for me. It’s usually too rich for me to enjoy a whole slice. For some reason, though, this filling tasted just perfect. Perhaps it was the lemon zest?
And now, we just need to talk about that freaking streusel. It’s bonkers. Not only do you not have to bake it (it comes together on the stovetop in a matter of minutes), but it turns out so thick and crumbly and perfect. I may never make another streusel recipe again. It adds the best texture to the otherwise creamy cheesecake filling, and echoes the flavors of cinnamon roll in the pie crust.
This pie is the best of all worlds.
Now, go make it for someone you love, and let’s all try to get through this together, no matter how daunting a task it may seem. Love WILL win again. It just has to.
Love you all! Xoxo.
1 store-bought soft pie crust (from the refrigerated section)
3 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of fine salt
1 egg white, beaten
2 packages cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1½ cups flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pie crust and using a rolling pin, gently roll it out to a ¼-inch thickness.
Brush the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer.
Carefully and gently roll the pie crust up into a tight spiral. To ensure that this really worked for me, I chilled the rolled up dough for about 20 minutes in the fridge before slicing.
Cut the spiral into ½-inch thick slices and then very gently slightly flatten each slice into a round with the rolling pin.
Place the pie crust rounds into a pie plate, overlapping them slightly and pressing to seal.
Trim any excess dough from the pie plate and then prick the bottom of the pie crust with fork. If desired, create a decorative edge with your fork or fingers.
Brush the egg white over the entire crust, including the edges, and place in the oven for 8-11 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and zest and beat to combine.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form and then gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture until it is light and fluffy and evenly combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Smooth out the top and place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then add in the other ingredients.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, for about 5 minutes. You want to cook it long enough to cook out the raw flour flavor. It is ready when it is very crumbly and the butter has been completely absorbed. I even do a taste test to make sure I can’t taste the flour.
Allow the streusel to cool completely and then top the chilled pie with it. Return the pie to the fridge for another 30 minutes before slicing and serving the pie.
Crust idea from here.
Filling adapted from here.