If you know what crack pie is you’re probably not even reading this, having skipped right to the recipe (or maybe even running out to get the ingredients right now!).
It’s okay – I understand.
Crack pie is the creation of one of the most talented and creative pastry chefs. Ever. Christina Tosi is my kind of baker, with a mind that works in incredible ways. When I think about the very best pastry chefs, I envision swiss meringue buttercreams, icing sugar flowers and multi-layered, intricately designed cakes.
Which is not to say that she can’t do all of those things (and more). But what really sets her apart is that she doesn’t let snobbery or fanciness get in the way of recipes that also just sound plain amazing.
She “goes there”.
I’m talking about things like Ritz cracker crunch.
See what I mean? The stuff that sounds so insanely good, but that most pastry chefs would turn up their noses at (Ritz crackers? Seriously? But you know you love them).
Take her cornflake crunch. It’s essentially crushed cornflakes mixed with melted butter, salt and sugar. Then baked.
Why? Well, you can use it in some of the recipes in the book, or “put some in a plastic bag and take it on the go as the best snack ever”.
I prefer one of my favorite Dane Cook lines:
“Because “it’s f***ing delicious”.
Yes, that about sums it up.
On to crack pie.
I remember reading about the pie and simply dying to try it. And I finally did – at Smorgasburg, last summer.
It was heaven. Salty, gooey, buttery, with a divine oat cookie crust that is the perfect complement to the filling.
My lovely friend Leslie gave me Momofuku Milk Bar for my birthday, and I look forward to making basically everything in this fabulous book. I encourage you to do the same.
Just be sure to start with the crack pie.
followed to the letter from Momofuku Milk Bar
photos courtesy of Chelsea Behrens
Oat Cookie Crust:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 c. (75 g.) light brown sugar
3 T. sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 c. (80 g.) flour
1 1/2 c. (120 g.) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/8 t. baking powder
pinch of baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. packed light brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
4 T. butter, melted
Heat oven to 350. Beat the butter and both sugars in your mixer on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium-high for 1-2 minutes (or till mixture is pale white). Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low, till all ingredients are incorporated, about one minute. Scrape down the sides.
Line a 10 x 13 pan with a Silpat, or spray with Pam (see Notes). Spread cookie batter evenly, about 1/4″ thick (it will not cover the entire pan). Bake for 15 minutes, or till caramelized on top and puffed slightly, but firmly set. Cool completely (can be stored in the fridge, well-wrapped, for up to one week).
Break up the cookie to fit into a food processor, along with the brown sugar and salt. Pulse until cookie is broken down and the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to a bowl, add the butter, and knead until a ball is formed (you can add 1-2 more tablespoons of butter if needed).
Divide the mixture evenly between two 10″ pie tins. Press the crust firmly and evenly into each tin, covering the bottoms and sides (can be stored wrapped, at room temperature for three days, or in the fridge for two weeks).
Crack Pie Filling
1 1/2 c. (300 g.) sugar
3/4 c. (180 g.) packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. (20 g.) powdered milk
1/4 c. (24 g.) corn powder (see Notes)
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla
8 egg yolks
Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine both sugars, powdered milk, corn powder and salt in your mixer. Beat on low speed till evenly blended. Add the melted butter and beat for 2-3 minutes, or till evenly incorporated. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat on low speed for 2-3 more minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg yolks and beat on low speed till just combined – do not overbeat (can be stored covered, in the fridge, for one week).
Place pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the filling evenly between the two crusts. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven door and reduce the temperature to 325. Close the door and bake for 5 more minutes, or till the pie is set around the outer edges, yet still jiggly in the dead center. Cool the pies on a rack. Freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight – this is important to condense the filling and achieve a dense final product.
To serve, defrost in the fridge for at least an hour. Dust with confectioners sugar prior to serving (can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month).
I do not have a 10 x 13 (also known as a “quarter-sheet”) pan. I used my 13 x 18 half-sheet pan, lined with a Silpat, and spread the cookie batter on one half.
Corn powder - I know – what the what? I bought a bag of freeze dried corn at Mrs. Green’s and put it in my food processor, grinding it to a powder. I have no idea why this (or powdered milk) features in so many of the book’s recipes. Nor do I ask. I noticed, in searching other sites’ adaptations of this recipe, that the corn powder is almost always omitted.
Not me. Uh-uh.
I went there.