I have literally hundreds (if not thousands) of recipe bookmarks spanning a handful of different formats, so it can occasionally be a bit overwhelming when making the decision of what next will grace my oven. Luckily, I am blessed with friends eager to eat the results of my baking experiments, and from time to time I get an email prodding me towards a new treat. So, when Ally sent me an email simply titled, “MAKE THIS” with nothing but a link to Look I Made That’s* take on crack pie and the words “MAKE IT, FEED ME, XO” (CAPS hers not mine) I knew she must have been on to something delicious, so I happily obliged, and plotted the creation of the famed crack pie from Momofuku Milk Bar.
*One of my favorite food blogs
I was ready to bake this based on its pedigree and Ally’s enthusiasm alone, but when I realized that it basically consisted of a giant cookie crumble + a bastardized (in the best way possible) caramel filling, I knew it was fate, and that it would end up in my belly sooner rather than later.
I noticed the recipe making the rounds (and dutifully bookmarked it) last year when it was published in a Bon Appetit feature on Christina Tosi, the pastry chef at Momofuku Milk Bar. Sadly, it fell into the deep abyss of my overflowing bookmarks folder, like many of its kind.
On my most recent trip to NYC, a trip to Momofuku Milk Bar was planned, but didn’t quite happen (Momofuku Ssam Bar was fantastic though), so my very own slice of crack pie was long overdue. Unsurprisingly, this did not disappoint; equal parts chewy cookie and syrupy filling with a strong caramel flavor, this is somewhat like pecan pie on steroids minus the pecans.
An open letter:
Subject: RE: Crack Pie
To whom it may concern,
FEED [SOMEONE YOU LOVE]
Honestly, this decadent treat may not be for everyone, it truly is tooth-achingly sweet. At the same time, if you can get past the creeping fear of future cavities, it is remarkably delicious, and made even more so when cut with unsweetened whipped cream. The cookie crust bakes up quicker than specified in the original recipe, so I adjusted for that, but I recommend checking in at the 10 minute mark as everyone’s oven is a bit different; err on the side of underbaked, as it will get a second trip to the oven with the filling.
Yield: 1 pie
9 tbsp (divided) unsalted butter, at room temp
5 ½ tbsp (divided) dark brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
¾ cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup (2.5 oz) all-purpose flour
⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
heaping ½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon powdered milk*
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6 ½ tbsp heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat, and lightly oil the surface.
In a large bowl cream together until lightened in color and well blended 6 tablespoons of the softened butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Add the egg, mix until throughly blended.
In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In two additions, add the dry ingredients to the sugar-butter-egg mixture, and mix til incorporated.
Spread the cookie dough in a thin layer over the prepped baking sheet; it will be extremely sticky, so do the best you can, but don’t fret too much. Bake for 14-16 minutes (checking early and often to ensure that it doesn’t overbake, you want chewy here not crisp).
Allow the cookie to cool to room temp and then crumble it in small chunks into the bowl used for the dry ingredients. Add the remaining (3 tablespoons) butter and (1 ½ tablespoons) brown sugar. Using your fingertips crumble together til it reaches a uniform consistency. Press out into a 9 inch pie plate** and chill while preparing the filling.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, powdered milk and salt. Add the melted butter, and whisk ’til smooth. Add the cream, vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and whisk ’til well incorporated.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust, and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the ovens temperature to 325° and bake until lightly browned but still slightly jiggly in the center (roughly 20 minutes, check early and often).
Cool for 2 hours on a cooling rack. Chill 6-8 hours or overnight. Dust with powdered sugar*** and serve with unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
*I had some trouble tracking this down, it’s generally near the instant breakfast drinks in the supermarket, but if you can’t find it I don’t think it’s of the utmost necessity to the success of this recipe, but pick some up if you see it – it’s also an ingredient in many other Milk Bar recipes (and there’s a cookbook in the works!)
**I prefer Pyrex pie plates, as I find that metal pie plates tend to over-conduct heat leading to a darker than ideal crust.
***I forgot this step to no ill effect, but it is probably a tasty addition.