I remember back in the day, when cell phones were enormous and hair was enormouser, my friends and I would scour the Earth for CD releases from our favorite indie bands. As soon as we were able to score a CD or two, we’d lock the door to one of our rooms and sit around listening to each track over and over and over and over, hating on the world and loving on the music.
At some point it became a thing for bands to include double top-secret bonus tracks that lucky listeners would have to find on their own. Imagine skipping over track after track after track hoping to find that hidden gem. This girl did it. Because once you found it you were the coolest kid in town, sharing your bonus goodness find with anyone who you deemed worthy.
If you’ve read this book, you know that Crack Pie is listed as the bonus track to the rest of the book’s string of hits.
I found that hidden track. I’m sharing it with you. Prepare to have your brain fall out of your head. It’s time for Crack Pie.
The recipe for Crack Pie is deceptively simple. You’re making a crust and you’re making a filling. Duh.
You need to use your stand mixer. And you need to pay attention while you’re baking. But you’ll be churning out two whole pies in no time.
I suspect the key to successful Crack Pieage is twofold:
1. Creaming the filling in a stand mixer. The book flat out says it. And it makes sense since you’re not filling with mounds of apples or pecans or anything else with its own texture and consistency. You’re making your pie filling from scratch so it needs to be perfecto. You can do it with a hand mixer, and things will still taste stellar. It just might not be, you know, crack-like.
2. Baking the pies carefully, at the correct temperatures, for the correct amount of time. The recipe instructs a baking time of 15 minutes at 350° before you lower the temp to 325° and bake until only the bulls-eye center remains jiggly. My oven is stoopit so I really needed to watch carefully as I lowered the temperature, alternating between keeping the door open and then closed so that the temp dropped but not too low. No biggie. Just keep your eye on it.
And then you do need to cool, chill and ultimately freeze. Can you dig it? I think you can.
The pie is supposed to be frozen so that the filling condenses into the perfect, signature consistency.
And perfect it is.
It’s hard to describe exactly what makes this pie so addictive. Keeps you coming back for seconds, thirds, shameful sevenths. But you will. Oh, you will.
There is no room for dignity in this dojo. At least not when the Crack Pie is served.
Be sure to check out my friends’ Milk Bar Monday creations!:
recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
For the pie:
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)
1 tbsp. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
For the Oat Cookie:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tbsp. white sugar, granulated
1 large egg yolk
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/8 tsp. baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
For the Crack Pie Filling:
1 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c. white sugar, granulated
3/4 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. corn powder (corn powder is defined as freeze-dried corn, ground to a fine powder)
1/4 c. milk powder
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
To prepare the Oat Cookie crust, preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. On a lower speed, add the egg to incorporate. Increase the speed back up to a medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white color. On a lower speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 60-75 seconds until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Your dough will still be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
Pam spray and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Plop the oat cookie dough in the center of the pan and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4″ thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan, this is okay. Bake the oat cookie for 15 minutes. Cool completely before using in the crack pie recipe.
To prepare the pie filling, mix the dry ingredients for the filling using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed. Be sure to keep your mixer on low speed during the entire process of preparing the filling; if you try to mix on any higher than a low speed, you will incorporate too much air in the following steps and your pie will not be dense and gooey – the essence of the crack pie. Add the melted butter to the mixer and paddle until all the dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until the white from the cream has completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks to the mixer, paddling them in to the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture. Use the filling immediately.
To assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 350°. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.) Transfer the cookie crumbs to a bowl and, with your hands, knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until the contents of the bowl are moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, gently melt an additional 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and knead it into the oat crust mixture. Divide the oat crust evenly over 2- 10″ pie tins.
Using your fingers and the palm of your hand, press the oat cookie crust firmly into both 10-inch pie shells. Make sure the bottom and the walls of the pie shells are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately or, wrapped well in plastic, store the pie shells at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Place both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts (the filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full) and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. At 15 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325°. Depending on your oven this will take 5-10 minutes – keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven temperature reads 325°, close the door and finish baking the pies for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s eye centers, but not in the outer center circle. If the pies are still too jiggly, leave them in the oven an additional 5 minutes.
Gently remove the baked pies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or up to overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product – the signature of a perfectly executed Crack Pie. Just before serving finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
YIELD: 2- 10″ pies