Thursday, May 20, 2010

Momofuku Crack Pie

In case you didn't know, I make cakes for people.  Elaborate cakes like these.  Inevitably, I get a lot of "I bet your kids' birthday cakes are unbelievable!"  And therein lies the rub.  My family is not interested in my cakes.  Sniff, sniff.

My husband, he only wants his first love, a Carvel ice cream cake.  My 6-year-old wanted a "decorate your own cupcake bar" for her birthday.  My 8-year-old is driving a final stake into my heart with her birthday request.  Instead of a birthday cake that looks like a giant box of movie popcorn, she wants....Momofuku Crack Pie.

I must confess, I can't blame her.  This stuff is appropriately named.  And before you call Child Protective Services on me, she thinks it's just called Momofuku Pie (sans the Crack).  I first had this at David Chang's dessert restaurant, Milk Bar in NYC which is adjacent to his famed Momofuku Ssam Bar restaurant.

Christina Tosi is the genius pastry chef at Milk Bar responsible for this life changing dessert as well as others not to be missed.  If there is a God, she will put out a dessert cookbook.  And I will camp out the night before the release date in front of Barnes and Noble, like an 80's groupie at a Motley Crue concert, waiting with absolutely no shame.  If you ever have the chance to stop in at Milk Bar, order one of everything they offer. 

So this pie.  It's hard to explain.  It's very sweet, a little salty.  Almost butterscotch-y with an oatmeal cookie crust.  I'm not sure what to compare it to.  But it's enough that the almost 8-year-old foodie deemed it "the best dessert EVER". Thus we will stick 8 candles into this humble little pie and introduce her friends to the world of crack.  PIE, people, PIE!!!  Geesh.

Momofuku Crack Pie
Makes 2 pies, serves 16
Reprinted and slightly adapted from the Los Angeles Times

Cookie for crust
2/3 c plus 1T (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 t baking powder
Scant 1/8 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 c (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3T (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 c (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

1.  Heat 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, mine took about 10 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 c (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 T (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 t 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 (9-inch) pie plates. 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 c (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 c plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/3 c plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) non-fat dry milk powder
1 c (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 c plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 t 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 18-20 minutes. The filling will still look bubbly and molten.  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.

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