It’s been a while since I’ve shared a ‘put-on-your-fat-pants’ recipe. But seeing as I’m really excited for pear season and the days are supposed to be getting cooler, I think you need this one.
I don’t think I have to do much convincing here. I mean, it’s a giant, buttery cinnamon roll. Who are we kidding?
This beast of a pastry basically screams, “devour me, you dirty girl!”. So I’ll just let it do all the talking. But beware – if you pull this out of your oven, it is all too easy to lose sense of all time and space and then suddenly discover that you’ve eaten nearly half the pan. Consider yourself forewarned.
A few notes before I jump to the good stuff:
I used Bosc pears because they’re sweet early in their ripening and they hold up well in baked goods. Other pears could easily be used instead, just know that they can become somewhat soupy in the oven.
Also, I prefer my cinnamon rolls without icing, because what I crave is the buttery cinnamon flavor, not tooth-aching sweetness. If you have a huge sweet tooth, feel free to make a quick icing of confectioner’s sugar and milk instead of a light sprinkling of sugar as I’ve done here. But if you just have a regular ol’ sweet tooth, you may want to cut down on the sugar used in the recipe if you’re going to cover it all in uber-sweet frosting. Do you.
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons tepid water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 pears (I used Bosc), sliced
pinch of salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
For the dough:
In a small saucepan (or a microwave safe bowl), heat the butter and yogurt until just melted. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast, tepid water, and sugar. Add the flour mixture and begin mixing on low speed, then add the lukewarm butter/yogurt mixture. Continue mixing then add the eggs/vanilla. When most of the flour is incorporated, increase the speed slowly. Knead on medium for about 3-5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, soft, and slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough to a well-buttered or oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for an hour in a warm spot. It won’t double in size, but it will be considerably puffier. While it’s rising, make the caramelized pears.
For the pears:
In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, and when that’s completely moistened by the butter, add the sliced pears. Gently stir with a wooden spoon to coat the pears in the buttery sugar. Cook on medium-low heat for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water from the softened pears has reduced and they are coated in a thick caramel layer. Transfer pears and any extra caramelized juices to another bowl to cool. Don’t clean the cast iron.
For the filling:
Melt the butter, then add the sugar, cinnamon, and fresh nutmeg. Stir until combined.
To assemble the cinnamon roll:
When the dough is puffy, dump it on a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out into a rectangle that’s about two feet wide. Then fold it in half so it’s one foot across, rotate it, and roll it out again to be a little less than two feet wide. Spread the cinnamon/sugar filling evenly across the dough, making sure to go all the way to the edges and corners.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut strips of dough about 1 1/2 inches wide. Take the first strip and roll it into a cinnamon roll, and place it in the center of the cast iron skillet. Then take another strip and wrap it around the cinnamon roll. Repeat this with three more strips of dough until you have a big cinnamon roll in the center of your cast iron that is at least 4 inches in diameter. Then spoon some pear slices evenly around the dough, and surround the pears with another piece of dough. Continue alternating a slice or two of dough with an even spoonful of pears.
Allow the final shaped cinnamon roll to proof for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F and bake for 35-40 minutes – if it starts to get too dark around the 25-30 minute mark, cover it with foil and continue baking until the dough in the center is cooked (registering about 190F if you have a thermometer). Let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before sprinkling with powdered sugar and slicing. Serve warm, and don’t forget your stretchy pants.