I’ve got a habit. About once a month, I buy a new cookbook on Amazon. After I buy a cookbook, they put these suggestions at the bottom. If a cookbook looks interesting, it goes into my wish list. The next month rolls around and I’ll buy another cookbook…. and then the suggestions pop up and the whole vicious cycle begins again.
The Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook has been on my wish list for a while. A few summers ago, Cary and I went to New York. Dr. HBar suggested we visit the establishment. We got to New York and started eating at all sorts of delis, burger places, cupcake places, and possibly the best Italian restaurant ever and totally forgot about her suggestion. Biggest. Regret. Ever.
The cookbook came in this week. I’ve been looking through it every night. It’s a lovely book. Christina Tosi combines whimsy and creativity in her recipes. Apparently she takes very good notes, which results in very detailed, somewhat complicated recipes. As a scientist, I appreciate the detail. I wish the book had more pictures, but that’s really neither here nor there.
After much agonizing internal debate, I decide to make the crack pie. It’s kinda like a chess pie, but not quite.
Before making the pie, you have to make oat cookie and let it cool. I did this the night before making the actual pie.
For oat cookie, you’ll need:
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup of light brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of rolled oats
- 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder
- pinch of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixture with a paddle attachment for about 4 or 5 minutes. The sugars should be totally incorporated. She says it should be a pale white. My mixture was really more like a tan color.
Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir for about a minute until everything is incorporated.
Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread out the cookie dough on the sheet until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Bake for about 15 minutes. Once it is cooled, break it apart and store it in an airtight container.
For the filling, you’ll need…
- 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
- 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of milk powder
- 1/4 cup of corn powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (the original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon)
- 8 egg yolks
One of the really neat things about this cookbook, is that Tosi uses ingredients that I am not familiar with. For example, milk powder. After reading her description, I think milk powder is the same as dried milk. After hunting around the aisles at my friendly Publix, I found this.
I think it worked well. The next ingredient that I was unfamiliar with was corn powder. I read the description, which said to buy freeze dried corn and make my own. Due to some time constraints, I wasn’t really interested in doing this. I know chess pie recipes sometime call for corn meal, so I was hoping I could find a fine grain meal lacking baking powder to substitute.
I ran upon Bob’s Red Mill Organic Corn Flour with the only ingredient being corn. It worked. Corn powder is used in quite a few recipes in the book, so I was quite happy to find an easy substitute.
Place the sugars, milk powder, corn powder and salt into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on a low speed until just blended.
Add the melted butter and mix for two to three minutes.
Add the cream.
Mix for a few minutes…
until all the white streaks from the cream disappear.
Add the eggs and mix until glossy.
Now it is time to assemble the pie!
In a food processor, pulse the oat cookie, 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Melt about 3/4 a stick of butter and mix it with the crust by hand. Press the crust into two 10 inch pie pans.
Place the pie pans on a baking sheet and divide the filling between the two pie pans. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature on the oven to 325°F and open the door for about 5 minutes (until the oven reaches 325). Bake the pies at 325 for an additional 10 minutes. The center of the pie should still be jiggly, but the edges should be firm.
Allow the pie to cook completely and place in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap. Serve the pie cold. I froze the second pie for a cookout we are hosting next week. I’ll let it thaw for about an hour before I serve it.
When Cary tried this pie, he said it was so much more than chess pie. He’s right… after much sampling for consistency (that’s what any scientist does, right?), we decided the crust really made the difference.
The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can change out the crust (pretzel maybe?) and add different things to the filling (fruit, pecans, chocolate chips). Very versatile and absolutely delicious.