When Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery sent me that maple and sea salt butter, they also sent me another new product to sample: Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche. I knew I needed to make something with the crème fraîche that would complement it and let it shine rather than bury its flavor. I turned to Twitter for inspiration and ended up tweeting with Mia, who is the pastry chef over at The Blue Room. She mentioned that crème fraîche can be whipped like cream, and I started thinking about pairing it that way with cinnamon rolls. I knew the cinnamon and vanilla would play well together. And then I remembered this cinnamon pull-apart bread that everyone seems to be making, and finally I had a plan.
For the cinnamon bread, I followed a recipe I found over on Joy the Baker. Substituting 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast for the active-dry yeast, I made the dough.
While it proofed, I prepared my loaf pan, browned butter, and mixed up the cinnamon-sugar filling (and with that hour's worth of time, I made a cake too).
Then I rolled the dough out to a roughly 12- by 20-inch rectangle.
I brushed the dough with the brown butter.
And then I covered it with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
I cut the dough into strips.
And then I stacked the strips on top of one another.
Then I cut the strips into six smaller pieces.
I smushed all of the pieces together in the loaf pan.
And then I covered the pan and let the dough proof again.
Finally, I baked the bread. And waited while scents of cinnamon and brown butter wafted through the house.
I lightly whipped some of the crème fraîche and set it out with the bread. And then we dug in.
Now this bread would be delicious on its own. It's warm, gooey, heavily cinnamon-y, sticky-sweet, and complex with its brown butter notes. But add some of the Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche and it's out of this world. No joke. The crème fraîche was reminiscent of cinnamon-bun topping, but rather than being thick and sickeningly sweet, it is light, almost fluffy, and tangy, with deep vanilla flavor. I could barely stop myself from piling heaps of it on each chunk of bread I pulled away from the loaf.
Buy the crème fraîche. Make the bread. Thank me later.
What would you do with Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche?
Note: The crème fraîche was complimentary, but my opinions are my own.