Nothing like 4" of snow to paralyze a Southern city. No complaints. I have at least one day, perhaps 2 of no driving (I may have experience in this stuff, but my neighbors do not), so baking, cleaning, packing. On tap today is Crack Pie. This is from Momofuku's Bakery and Milk Bar in New York. At $44 a pie, I know this is no one hour baking challenge, but hey, it's a snow day! When I first read the recipe in the LA Times a year ago, I thought, big deal, it's a chess pie, a Southern staple. After reading on I saw that pastry chef Christina Tosi starts with a homemade oatmeal cookie crust. I like this idea a lot. So, Crack Pie it is. Here is the recipe, and then of course, the way I did it.
Cookie for crust
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.
6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts
Powdered sugar, garnish
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.
3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.
5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.
6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Okay, there is a lot going on here. I made the cookie first following the recipe but adding some vanilla extract. The batter was delicious...the baked cookie was a little tasteless. But then, you mix THAT with more sugar and more butter. YIKES! The recipe makes 2 pies, but I knew I didn't need to make 2 so I opted to halve the recipe and made the one in a 9" tart pan. The crust was easy to work with, and you have to be careful to get the crust up to the top so the filling doesn't ooze between the crust and the tin. Trust me, there is plenty of butter in the crust so there is no need to grease the tin.
Now the filling. I do not have powdered milk on hand, so I skipped it. Maybe it would have made it a tiny bit thicker, absorbed a little butter, I don't know. The filling looks like butterscotch and smells heavenly while it bakes. We let it cool outside in the snow and cut in.
People really pay $44 for a pie? It is SO thin, SO rich, Christina compared it to raw sugar cookie dough. The outside of the pie was tastier because there was a little contrast with the oatmeal cookie crust. But I am happy to report I am not into crack. The pie will head to the trash, kind of a waste, but I'll take a cookie any day. Now I still want to go to Momofuku, but I know what I am not having. Another snow day tomorrow (for me anyway) so perhaps we'll find something a little tastier to bake. Happy Snow!