Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day

Crack pie

I told myself I wouldn't make this. Even though it was one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted, and I pretty much had all the ingredients for it already, I still told myself, "Self, you can not make this pie." Because you see, I'm trying to eat healthier. After the last two posts, I figured it was time to start posting something healthier. But then, I realized, Pi Day is coming up. And I have a birthday party and a potluck dinner to go to. And this recipe is for two pies. And well, when the stars align....

This is not an quick and easy recipe to make. Before you even get to making the filling or even the crust, first you have to make the cookies that go into the crust. But it's so worth it. This pie? Costs $44 at Momofuku Milk Bar. Forty-four bucks! And that's not including the shipping and handling if you don't happen to live in NYC. So do yourself a favor and just make it yourself.

Momofuku's Crack Pie (from the LA Times)
Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)

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
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

Heat the oven to 375° F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.

Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

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.

Oatmeal cookie for crust

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.

Pressed cookie crust

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

Heat the oven to 350° F.

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.

Filling

Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

Filled pie

Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325° F 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.

Baked pie

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.

Crack pie

I actually made all the cookies (enough for two pies) but made each pie separately on separate days since I only have one pie pan. Because the volumetric measurements are kind of hard to divide in half, I ended up weighing the ingredients that had weights listed for them. From what I read on the interwebs, it seems like the toughest part about making this pie is figuring out how much time to bake it for and at what temperatures. I pretty much just followed the LA Times guidelines and baked it for 15 minutes at 350° F, reduced the heat to 325° F, and continued baking for another 20 minutes. At this point it was still "slightly jiggly and golden brown".

Crack pie

It really is important to chill this pie. I ended up cutting out a slice because I wanted to try to take a picture of it while I still had daylight. The pie was still just a little above room temperature, and not completely solid yet. I did take a bite at that point and thought it just tasted okay. When I tried it later after it had been thoroughly chilled in the fridge, it was much, much better. The texture had condensed, and the flavors just gelled better as well.

I had toyed with the idea of substituting store-bought oatmeal cookies for the crust to save some time, but ultimately, I'm glad I didn't. The filling itself is so sweet that you need the crust to be more of a blank canvas rather than try to compete. A lot of people at the party described this as tasting like "pecan pie without the pecans". I bet this would be even better if there was a sprinkle of sea salt on top, and I'd be really curious if this could be lemon-ized so it was kind of like a lemon bar. On crack.

3 comments:

  1. Yum! I've been meaning to make this crack pie, too - it looks sooo delicious!

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  2. yum! i'll have to add it to my list! what a yummy looking treat! i dont blame you for making it;) happy pi day to you too!

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  3. Okay, I love the phrase "Self, you cannot make this pie." That is my new catchphrase!

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