Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie

If it’s as addictive as crack, then US$44 is possibly the cheapest crack you can get yourself stoned or in this case, hyper sugary high. I am talking about the infamous Crack Pie, an old recipe revamped by the pastry chef Christina Tosi at Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. I actually haven’t try the real deal from the Milk Bar, so I’ll take Anderson Cooper’s words for it that once you have tasted the crack pie, it will change your life.

However, I did have some of the crack pie made by Ellie (Almost Bourdain) adapted from a recipe posted on LA Times. She didn’t care how we are going to eat it, either with fingers or forks, so long we act fast for a very practical reason. A filling that is made with egg, butter and sugar will not hold for long in humidity and will simply melt into a molten lava of sticky sweetness. I did as I’m told, a quick shot of crack pie into my digestive system with an instant sugar rush through my blood stream, the head was slightly buzzing and then I realised I was hooked. There was no turning back, I am a crackhead.

Over a month ago, I decided to give the recipe a try and made the crack pie for Easter lunch party. On the website it says you can make two crack pies using 2 (10-inch) pie tins out of the recipe, but I only managed to make one and a half by using a rectangle tart pan and a small spring form ramekin tin. Maybe because I am greedy and prefer my pie to have a thick layer of filling. Man-size-it makes everything taste better.

I also rediscovered the enjoyment of Cornflakes, all thanks to momofuku. There are so many variety of cereals out there you can get, and Cornflakes is possibly the least likely I will pick. But using it for desserts has turned these bland corn crackers into a must have ingredients in my pantry these days. So instead of using rolled oats as requested in the recipe to make the pie base, I substituted it with Cornflakes. It gives the base a stronger buttery flavour as it turns brown quicker than rolled oats, and also add a layer of saltiness to the base which is nicely balanced with the overly sweet filling.

You do have to like your food rich to love crack pie. It may not look pretty from the outside, but it is that addictive sensation from the first mouthful that counts. Unfortunately, I did suffer heart burn from over indulging because of crack pie overload in one seating. Too much good thing can be bad for you – just like the crack. Consume at your own risk.

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Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie (Adapted from The Los Angeles Times)
Serves 6 to 8

Cookie for the crust

Ingredients
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 (or cornflakes crumbs)

Method
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit (190 degree celcius).

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 cornflakes 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.

7. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack.

8. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

For the Crust

Ingredients
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons
(3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Method
1. 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).

2. Press the crust into tart pan shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins.

3. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.
For the Filling 

Ingredients
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

Method
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degree Celcius).

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. Fill the tin shell.

5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees (160 degree celcius) and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes.

6. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

7. 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.

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