Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and Cranberry

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.

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry
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 goddessssss 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.

Momofuku Milk Bar's Cinnamon Toast Crumb Pie Crust using the crusts from white bread! Much better than a Graham Cracker Crust! We've eaten this crust as is, no filling..that's how good it is!

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!

Momofuku Milk Bar's Cinnamon Toast Crumb Pie Crust using the crusts from white bread! Much better than a Graham Cracker Crust! We've eaten this crust as is, no filling..that's how good it is!
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.

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of CranberryWhenever 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.

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry                                  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.

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry
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

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and Cranberry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Adapted from Christina Tosi via Food & Wine
Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust
  • 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)
Brown Butter Custard Filling
  • 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
Sweet Potato Ganache
  • 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)
Make Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Make the Brown Butter Custard Filling
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Make the Sweet Potato Ganache
  1. 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)
  2. 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).

Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and a Touch of Cranberry

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49 Responses to Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Sweet Potato Ganache and Cranberry

  1. Megan says:

    Sweet potato ganache caught my eye in that long title. The whole thing sounds so good… and it’s such an unusual dessert! Happy New Year!

  2. Rosa says:

    OMG, that looks scrummy! That ganache is so unique. What a splendid pie!

    Cheers and Happy New Year,


  3. Lisa,

    Happy New Year to you, and that pie looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I’m guilty of making her crack pie and compost cookies, and have my eye on her Pistachio Cake. Isn’t her cookbook coming out soon?

  4. Dan says:

    Once again a delicious delicacy from you Lisa. The pie looks yummmy and your pictures are great too. Cinnamon toast crumtb making me drool. Well done and Happy New Year to you :).

  5. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, what a truly unique pie! It sounds incredible what a terrific combination of flavors and ingredients here! An ultimate treat for sure! Happy New Year!

  6. Sue says:

    All these amazing IS a phenomenal pie! I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Lisa:) And you can bet that I will make this cinnamon toast crust…of that you can be certain! Oh my! 🙂 THANKS!

  7. OK. YOu have convinced me. Honestly, looking at it (and it is a gorgeous photo) I cannot tell if it is sweet or savoury and without your oozing enthusiasm, after reading the recipe, would be curious, but would not make this pie. I will now, however. You have me under your spell. It is on the list – and I will get to it – eventually. YUM!!!!
    Happy 2011.
    Big hug,

  8. Alex G says:

    Wow! “Sweet potato ganache” is not a phrase I ever thought I’d read. I can’t decide if I’m enchanted or appalled but the pie does look amazing 🙂

  9. Happy New Year Lisa! I hope you had a great 2010 and 2011 will bring you much happiness and great food 🙂

  10. this pie and its filling…and crust…sounds amazing indeed. Love your resolutions lol. Happy New Year my friend, may all you want comes your way xoxox

  11. Renata says:

    Every time I hear “brown butter” I remember making it for the first time for a DBs challenge and being totally amazed with its smell! I can almost imagine the deliciousness of this creation of yours. Sweet potato ganache sounds divine!

  12. Lori says:

    Oh yum! Lisa this looks so good! And thanks for the heads up on the recipe and the recipe maker.

  13. OmiGod , this piee is really good , way way good!
    I missed u v muc and have been thinking of u ,for a day or 2 now:-)and there u are ,with lodsa deliciousness galore ,that never fails to excite and amaze me !

    Ha ha ,i love ur resolutions and i sure wanna learn some Italian too now , nope ,not really been a goal of mine either , but u make it sound sooo good!

    I agree, momofuku rocks and so do u!!!

    I loveeee all the cupcakes happening here and am sad i missed ur wonderful giveaways galore:-)
    Happy sunhsine brite new year to u dearest Lisa with lodsa love and hugs:-)

  14. Oh good god… I need to go work out just from looking at those pictures! So decadent. I’m so sad I don’t have a slice right now. It sounds like the absolute most perfect January pie…. brown buttery for the middle of winter, but a slight throwback to the fall with the cranberries and the sweet potatoes. Mmmmmmm. A brown butter custard sounds like a fantastic base for a lot of ganaches. Once upon a time, back when I had my other blog, I made a raspberry ganache that would also be delightful with cinnamon toast crumbs and brown butter custard – it was tangy and wonderful. I would go for some chocolate shavings in that case….. oh my… sounds like I might be getting out the pie dishes….

  15. marcellina says:

    Oooh that looks so good! Brown butter custard! Something I had never thought of nor sweet potato ganache! But as I read through your post I’m salivating so it’s got to be good! Happy New Year! Good luck with the resolutions!

  16. MandyM says:

    Oh. My. God.
    Are you insane?! How can you help unleash this on your readers?! Don’t you know that some of us are trying to eat better this year?

    Cinnamon. Toast. Crust. *swoon*
    Sweet potato ganache?! *licks the screen* I didn’t even know that was possible.
    And custard. My weakness. *sigh*
    I think I’m in love with a pie.

    Oh, and…. HAhahahahaA! Italian PhotoShop, that’s hilarious 😀 (Well, for us readers anyway 😉 ) The little things that happens to you really makes for great reading (although I can only imagine some of the frustration you actually feel!)

    Thanks for another great read & recipe 😀

    *mutters something about getting out the cinnamon & bread*

  17. laura says:

    Wow–what an awesome pie. The cinnamon toast crust is a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing. Happy new year!!

  18. crumbsoflove says:

    Maybe Lea is the secret love child of David…food for thought…
    Anyway, Happy New Year and keeping eating pie!

  19. shaz says:

    Sweet potato ganache? I want to go off and make this right now!! And the cinnamon crumbs sound so amazig. I must be the only food blogger who hasn’t yet attempted the crack pie, perhaps that’s my resolution for the year 🙂 But I think I want to make this one first, you’ve sold me on it Lisa!

  20. YourWifeToBe says:

    HAR. She DOES look like DLR. And they both have matching egos, to boot! (at least her character does) 🙂

    I was toying with the idea of the DB challenge this weekend.. but now I’m thinking I have to make this.. too bad it doesn’t include milk powder, yanno, since I’ve got enough to pour out on my lawn and ski on it. Did you see her milk powder marshmallow cookies? That’s so not the name of them, but those are 2 of the ingredients, obviously. Me want to try them too!

    Love you!
    Your Betrothed,

  21. Jamie says:

    OMG Crack Pie, did you call it? Can I call it Orgasm Pie? Wowee I love everything about it from the real cinnamon toast to the sweet potatoes and cranberries. Once the man successfully comes to the end of his diet THIS gets made to celebrate! Stunning! And I LOVE your resolutions and yes she does kinda look like him, doesn’t she? Hey, I don’t even watch the show but have seen enough commercials to see it! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  22. Pat says:

    Lisa, I am on a New Year’s diet and seeing this unbelievable looking delicious pie has me salivating for it! Can I claim the sweet potato in it is healthy and count it as a veggie serving?

    It was so good to hear form you! Happy New Year! I am soooo happy that Jeter was signed…the Yankees had me nervous for awhile ..but time will tell if George’s sons will have the same results their dad did.

  23. Juliana says:

    Oh Lisa, what a great pie…sweet potato ganache…sounds and looks delicious, if only I could have a spoonful of this pie 😉 Happy New Year to you Lisa!

  24. What an amazing pie. Definitely no need to embellish the title, it’s already mouthwatering.

  25. Katrina says:

    You had me at sweet potato gahnosh (just seeing if the computer liked that spelling better. Nope.
    The pie looks and sounds fantastic. You rock.

  26. I have this recipe from Food and Wine and have been meaning to try it for over a year! Your change of spreading the sweet potato ganache is fabulous. I’ll definitely do that when I make this. And, the cinnamon toast crumbs sound just amazing. Happy New Year to you!

  27. Mary says:

    What a cool-sounding recipe! I haven’t tried crack pie yet, because I’m a afraid it might lead to a spiral of sugar-induced doom, but now I have found the methadone for my crack pie addiction. So I’ll be safe if I make them both, right?
    I love your resolutions! I learned a lot of Japanese and Spanish from photocopiers and computers and bank machines. French I learned from cereal boxes, like any Canadian.
    Happy new year!

  28. James says:

    Came upon your site a few days ago via Foofgawker. Great writing, photos and recipes. Definitely going to try the cinnmaon toast crust, very unique pie in general. Looking forward to more good stuff.

  29. bennijeny says:

    This looka pretty easy! I would love to try this pie. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Jen says: that’s a crazy pie!! Kind of reminds me of that orange top I wore New Years! :>P

  31. FOODESSA says:

    Lisa…your enthusiasm is addictive…especially since I’m practically convinced that I may just be surprised with having sweet potato on pie for dessert. This, honestly would not be in my top 10. Don’t get me wrong, I love this potato, however, I have yet to be impressed with it integrated in a pie.
    This pie does intrigue. The crust is also particularly interesting…and you make it sound like a must-try…so I’ve book marked it for when the mood strikes me ;o)

    Great post for the New Year…and the pics are alluring as usual.

    Flavourful wishes for the newest year.

  32. Bill says:

    i will bookmark with this one Nice Post mate and Happy 2011

  33. doggybloggy says:

    oh my god this pie is out of this world – its all over the galaxy with flavors –

  34. Joseph says:

    cool pie. she’s coming out with a cookbook i think in september. looking forward to trying this crust.

  35. Elle says:

    Glad your computer is back up and working…I hate tech snafus! This pie looks wicked good and that crust!! Awesome. Great idea to make the pumpkin ganache (again an awesome concept) all over the top…good to be a rebel sometimes…so this has to be one spectacular pie.
    Received the OhNuts shippment…and I ordered some extra :)…and they are OhSoGood nuts! I strongly recommend this site, especially for baking nuts. XO Elle

  36. Valérie says:

    I had to google “David Lee Roth,” and now I’m giggling. I think the resemblance would be in the jaw…
    Great looking pie! The thought of sweet potato ganache is kind of blowing my mind, though. Creative, as always!
    Happy New Year!

  37. Happy new year, Lisa!

    No matter how you have titled your post, the content is still very entertaining and funny. And there is always a smile in my face reading your words, thanks for such talent!

    Love this beautiful color-coordinated brown butter custard pie. So look forward to more of your 2011 posts 🙂

  38. james says:

    Love the unique combination of flavors, such an eclectic pie. I think the sweet potato ganache deserves more publicity too. Nicely done.

  39. lo says:

    But really… tempting us with browned butter pie like that… it’s hardly fair 🙂 Fortunately, giving up pie isn’t even CLOSE to being on my list of resolutions for 2011!

  40. Kayla says:

    Cool pie! Love the cinnamon toast crust!

  41. Amy says:

    I love cassoulet! Love how yours turned out, especially that photo of it right in the pot. Nice skin on your confit too!

  42. Maggie says:

    This looks perfectly decadent! Consider sharing with the Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent Saturday Picture Linky/Blog hop.

    Older posts that fit the theme are a-ok.

  43. This has so many delicious elements it is hard to keep track 😀
    Your blog is amazing!!!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: 3 Layer Brownie Cheesecake

  44. Oh wow. I don’t even know how to describe how much I want this! All I can really think of right now is..a lot

    • Lisa says:

      I hope you try it! It’s so unique and fantastic. The brown butter custard really does melt in your mouth, and that crust..OH.MY.GOD. I need to make it again soon.

  45. avigail schotz says:

    This looks really interesting! I was just making some browned sage butter for acorn squash and I thought to myself that browned butter & sage would be delicious in a custard pie…do you think sage would work with this? with the cinnamon – and would the sweet potato ganache still work? what about the cranberry? thanks!

    • Lisa says:

      I think sage would be a really interesting and very ‘Thanksgiving’ like addition, as long as it’s subtle. Go easy on it in the browned butter and let me know how it turns out!

  46. Pingback: 7 mouth-watering ways to use leftover crusts

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