Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Diary of a Secret Housewife: Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie

Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie raises a series of pressing questions: Will you gain 100 times the calories for eating crack pie than cocaine pie?  Would Whitney smoke this?  Most importantly, what kind of mystical pie experience is worth $44?  That's right.  $44.  For something that does not include any substances that can't be readily found in your fridge and pantry.

I had to know the answers to these mysteries.

So I made Crack Pie.  Twice.

And I am here to tell you that crack ain't whack.  

I mean, I wouldn't spend $44 on it.  But it's pretty damn good.

Momofuku's Crack Pie is basically a take on an old Southern dessert, Chess Pie.  It's sugar, cream, and butter baked in a cookie crust.  Momofuku's secret is a delicious, slightly salty fresh oatmeal cookie base and a bit of milk powder to enhance the flavoring of the gooey, butterscotch-like filling.  It's quite easy to make, though it takes multiple steps and a bit of cooling time.

Here's what you need for 1 pie:

Oat Cookie Crust
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

You begin by making the oatmeal cookie crust.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. (I didn't have a glass pie dish, so I used cake pans the first time and a ceramic pie dish the second time.)  Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

Tip: As you can see, you'll essentially be baking the oatmeal cookie twice, the first time on its own, the second time crushed and made into the pie crust.  So don't overbake the cookie the first time, or else the crust will burn while the filling is being cooked.

Next, you make the filling.  Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 15 to 20 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 10 to 20 minutes longer

Tip: The second time I made the pie, I baked it according to Bon Appetit's instructions (30 min. at 350, then 20 min. at 325) and, as you can see from the photo, nearly burnt the pie.

The first time I made the pie, however, I followed the instructions on the LA Times website, and the pie came out perfect, if not just slightly underbaked.  The underlined time recommendations above are my own, based upon trial and error; they represent a middle range from both the Bon Appetit and the LA Times recipes.

When the pie has finished baking, cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.  Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Prepare for shivers of delight.

Oh, the pie is VERY sweet, and VERY gooey.  It's not right for everyone's palate.  I'd suggest cutting small pieces to start and serving it with a high-quality vanilla ice cream to cut the sweetness.

If you like it, feel free to send $43 my way.


Sandy September 28, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

send me some of that crack pie! :D

i love the idea of the oat crust, the filling kind of reminds me of a pecan pie filling, without the nuts.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa September 28, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

@ Sandy: I think that's exactly what it is: pecan pie minus the nuts. People say it tastes something like a combo of chess pie and a St. Louis butter cake.

Kate September 28, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

Um, it kind of sounds delicious. I love the innards of pecan pie and I have major sweet toothage so it's pretty much up my alley. May have to save up next pay check and make some :)

Katie October 1, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

Oh my goodness. I've never had chess pie either...but after hearing your description of this "crack pie," I REALLLLLY want a slice! Mmmmm

Jessica :: Delicatessen October 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

This pie looks so wrong but I can't resist the filling. It's whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

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