Friday, December 7, 2012

Christina Tosi's Momofuku Crack Pie

In the summer between sophomore and junior year of college, I visited New York with some friends. Because I was a poor student, I funded the cost of my trip by selling myself to science through participating in psych studies each week. I earned enough to buy a round trip plane ticket, which was a huge milestone, and our friend's parents hosted us so that we didn't need to pay for a place to stay.

New York has many fantastic places to dine, but at a ridiculous cost. I wanted to check out Momofuku but couldn't stand the price. Since I have such a big sweet tooth, I figured that visiting Milk Bar would adequately let me preview some of the food that they're famous for. The pastry chef for Momofuku is James Beard award winner Christina Tosi and I carried high expectations for her sweets. My friend and I split a compost cookie, a cornflake cookie, a cereal milk soft serve cone, and a slice of crack pie. To be honest it was rather underwhelming, except the pie which stood out to me. The recipe for this pie is all over the internet, and I've had it bookmarked but haven't touched it for the past two years because it just seems so darn complicated. But recently, I've been attempting to make more complicated stuff. And since it was a coworker's birthday this week, I decided to make this for her.

This recipe is gonna be a long one. We're starting out with making the oat cookie crust. Soften 6 Tbsp butter and mix with 4 Tbsp brown sugar and 2 Tbsp regular sugar in a bowl, then beat until light and fluffy. Unfortunately, I heated the butter for too long in the microwave so it's all liquidy, so I skipped the beating part. 

To the butter/sugar mixture, add 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir well.

The dough should resemble a wet chocolate chip cookie dough. Spread onto a greased and lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 17-18 minutes until light golden brown.

While the dough was baking, I made the filling. In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 Tbsp dry milk powder and 1/4 tsp salt. 

Add 1 stick of melted butter and whisk until blended. 

Add 6 1/2 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream and 4 large egg yolks, then whisk again until blended.

Once the filling is done, the cookie should be about done, so remove it from the oven.

The instructions say the cookie cool completely before crumbling, but whatever. I used a spatula to scoop the hot cookie pieces into a bowl, and added a 3 Tbsp knob of butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar. I stilled until the butter melted and the cookie was slightly cooler, then used my hands to mix until the mixture was moist and sticking together. 

Transfer the oat mixture to a pie tin and use your fingers to press into a crust.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then lower temperature to 325F and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the pie is set near the edges while the center is still jiggly. The mixture should be all bubbly in the oven.

This is my baked and cooled pie! The bubbliness never settled in the middle, which is why there's a large patch in the center and it's a tad ugly.

But no worries! Powdered sugar can save the day. Give your pie a generous dusting of powdered sugar and it will be immediately beautiful :)

Would I make this again? No. I remembered really loving it when I tried it a slice from Milk Bar, but I didn't realize how sweet it was until I made it myself at home. It is deliciously rich and decadent, but so darn sweet that I get a slight headache from just a bite. This pie received rave reviews in the office, but it's not my cup of tea.

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