Crack Pie


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The recipe lives up to its name and everyone should try this pie at least once. It’s a fairly involved recipe from Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, as are all her recipes. I wrote extensively in the blog post about the changes I made to the recipe and what I would do in the future. Make sure to thoroughly read the post and recipe a few times before beginning.

Ingredients

Pie

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Oat Cookie

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar, granulated
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt

Crack Pie Filling

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar, granulated
  • 3/4 cup  light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup  corn powder (corn powder is defined as freeze-dried corn, ground to a fine powder)
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 large egg yolks

Preparation

  1. To preparation are the Oat Cookie crust, preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. On a lower speed, add the egg to incorporate. Increase the speed back up to a medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white color. On a lower speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 60-75 seconds until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Your dough will still be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
  2. Pam spray and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Plop the oat cookie dough in the center of the pan and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4″ thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan, this is okay. Bake the oat cookie for 15 minutes. Cool completely before using in the crack pie recipe.
  3. To prepare the pie filling, mix the dry ingredients for the filling using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed. Be sure to keep your mixer on low speed during the entire process of preparing the filling; if you try to mix on any higher than a low speed, you will incorporate too much air in the following steps and your pie will not be dense and gooey – the essence of the crack pie. Add the melted butter to the mixer and paddle until all the dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until the white from the cream has completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks to the mixer, paddling them in to the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture. Use the filling immediately.
  4. To assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 350°. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.) Transfer the cookie crumbs to a bowl and, with your hands, knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until the contents of the bowl are moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, gently melt an additional 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and knead it into the oat crust mixture. Divide the oat crust evenly over 2- 10″ pie tins.
  5. Using your fingers and the palm of your hand, press the oat cookie crust firmly into both 10-inch pie shells. Make sure the bottom and the walls of the pie shells are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately or, wrapped well in plastic, store the pie shells at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Place both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts (the filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full) and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. At 15 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325°. Depending on your oven this will take 5-10 minutes – keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven temperature reads 325°, close the door and finish baking the pies for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s eye centers, but not in the outer center circle. If the pies are still too jiggly, leave them in the oven an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Gently remove the baked pies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or up to overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product – the signature of a perfectly executed Crack Pie. Just before serving finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe Notes and Items I Would or Did Change

  1. I would halve the entire recipe, not just the filling portion, right off the bat (no one needs two of these laying around, nor do you “need” the extra cookie portion; unless you have the freezer space for it or company or are training for a triathlon, halving is my recommendation)
  2. I would use a 9-inch, not 10-inch, pie plate as she recommends. I felt it was just “barely” enough filling and don’t attribute it to halving the recipe. I also used more than half the cookie for the crust and feel a 9-inch would be better.
  3. I would underbake the cookie crust by about 25-30% of what she recommends (take it from 15 minutes to about 10 minutes) so that it crumbles easier and packs into the pie plate easier; plus it gets baked a second time anyway as part of the pie.
  4. I would consider buying a store-bought graham cracker pie crust and just making Christina’s filling if I wanted to take this recipe from 2 hours of standing on my feet to 15 minutes by just making the filling.
  5. I didn’t miss the corn powder and would continue to use my 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour because I am frugal, didn’t want to source it, and don’t want to store a bag of corn powder in my already maxed out cupboard space for the occasional one tablespoon use of it.
  6. Tosi recommends baking the entire pie, crust and filling together, for 15 minutes at 350F, opening the oven door and allowing the oven to cool to 325F, and then baking for about 5 more minutes after the oven temperature has reached 325F (about 20-25 minutes of total baking time). I needed to bake mine for about 31-34 minutes of total baking time in order for the center to set (at least one-third longer than she called for which is highly significant and to be noted). Also I was only baking one pie; if I had two in the oven, it would have taken even longer.
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