Eat: Momofuku’s Crack Pie

28Sep10

In celebration of Susie’s birthday last weekend, we decided to launch an experiment baking Momofuku’s notorious Crack Pie. I’ve been to Momofuku Ssam and Milk Bar several times, though admittedly I’ve never tried the crack (I can never convince myself to pass up the captain crunch milk shake!). But given that everyone from Ashton Kutcher to Anderson Cooper and Martha Steward raves about the thing, we figured we had to find out for ourselves why it’s so popular. Crack Pie is a twist on Chess Pie – a dessert found in the “Joy of Cooking,” popular because it can be made with common pantry ingredients such as butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Although there are several recipes for pastry chef Christina Tosi’s celebrated pie floating around out there, we based ours primarily on the recipe in the recent Bon Appetit magazine, with a few adjustments along the way. We used more butter in the cookie crust because the dough felt a bit dry at first. We also used additional salt to the crust to accentuate the “crack” element of the pie which comes from the combination of sweet and salty flavors.

Momofuku’s Crack Pie

Ingredients

Oat cookie crust: Nonstick vegetable oil spray, 9 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature, divided), 1/3 cup light brown sugar (divided), 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 large egg, 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

Filling: 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)

To make the oat cookie crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-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 your 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. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

To 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 30 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 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.

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