Crack Pie

Crack pie? Yes! Crack pie! With a name like that, how can it not be good?  And don’t worry…there isn’t actually any crack or illegal drugs involved in its creation…

For my second foray into the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, I decided to try their signature pie.  I had to see what all the fuss was about!  This pie was created by Christina Tosi, last minute, on a whim as she was trying to make dessert for “Staff Meal” at WD50.  What she thought was sure to be a flop, was ravished by all her fellow chefs that night and became an instant favorite.  (This is in stark contrast to our “9 o’clock meal” that we are served at the hospital- free hospital cafeteria leftovers that always seem to include instant mashed potatoes and some sort of mystery meat.)

One of the great things about this pie is that most of its components can be made ahead of time (which is great for busy surgery residents!).  The other great thing about this recipe: it makes 2 pies!  Because what is better than 1 crack pie? 2 crack pies obviously!  This pie does require some “specialty” items such as corn powder (ground freeze dried corn) and milk powder (sold in regular grocery stores- look for it in the baby formula isle), but they are worth it.

I will confess that I was a little worried about my pie during the baking process.  Actually, I was a lot worried!  The directions say to bake for 5 minutes after lowering the oven temperature to 325 and if still too “jiggly”, to bake for an additional 5 minutes.  After these additional 5 minutes…and another 5 minutes…and another 3 minutes I felt my pie was still too “jiggly” but was getting quite brown on top so I took it out of the oven.  It actually firmed up quite nicely once it started to cool which then caused me to worry that I had left it in too long and overbaked it, the cardinal sin of baking!  So I crossed my fingers as I brought it in to work the next day for a colleague’s birthday.  But fear not!  The pie had the perfect combination of a rich, gooey, salty-sweet butterscotch-like filling paired with a crunchy, oat cookie crust…and, man, was it addicting!  I snuck up to the surgical floor in between all of my cases to steal a piece.  By the end of the day, the pie was long gone and my belly was a little too full on cracktastic, sugary goodness.  Luckily, I have another pie waiting for me in the freezer :).

Click below for the recipe.

Crack Pie (from Momofuku Milk Bar)makes 2 (10 inch) pies

1 recipe Oat cookie (recipe follows)
1 Tbs tightly packed packed
1/4 tsp salt
4-6 Tbs butter, melted
1 recipe Crack Pie filling (recipe follows)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the oak cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand.  Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball.  If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1-2 Tbs butter and knead it in.

Divide the crust evenly between 2 (10 inch) pie tins.  Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookies crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides are evenly covered.  Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Put both pies on a sheet pan.  Divide the crack pie filling evenly between the crusts.  (If you previously refrigerated the filling, let site out at room temperature for about an hour before using so it will spread easily and not disrupt your crust) Bake for 15 minutes only.  The pies should be golden brown on top but will stay very jiggly.

Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degree.  Keep the oven door open until temperature is 325 degrees (this may take a few minutes).  Once at 325, close the oven door and bake pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges.  If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so (or 13 like I had to for my pies).

Gently take the pan of crack pies out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.  Then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours or overnight to condense the filling- this is the signature technique of a perfect crack pie!  If not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap.  In the fridge. they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.  Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hours before you’re ready to serve it.

Serve your crack pie cold.  You may decorate it with confectioners’ sugar.

Oat Cookie

1 stick (8 Tbs) butter, at room temperature1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup floud
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/8 tsp baking powder
a pinch of baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 275 degrees.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Pam-spray a quarter sheet pain and line with parchment paper (or line with a slipmat).  Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pain and, with a spatula, spread it out until 1/4 inch thick.  The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan, this is OK.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie- carmelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.  Cool completely before using.  Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Crack Pie Filling (for 2 crack pies)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed1/4 cup milk powder
1/4 cup corn powder (freeze dried corn ground in a blender or food processor)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 Tbs) melted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks

Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.  Add the melted butter and paddle 2-3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.

Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2-3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg yolks, paddling them on low speed into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture.

Use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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