Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crack (Pie) is not Whack

Earlier this month, I decided to be ambitious and continue making non-cupcake desserts. I know, weird right? I just got a recipe book for Momofuku Milk Bar, which is based in New York City. It's owned by famed chef David Chang but run by Christina Tosi. In March, Christina taught a two-hour lesson at the Biltmore on the making of chocolate chip layer cake. But I opted for my first solo foray to make their signature Crack Pie. Supposedly it's so yummy and addictive that that is the name Milk went with. The recipe calls for something like 8 egg yolks. Fortunately, my co-worker gave me 24 eggs recently from his urban chicken coop. Score! It also calls for this brand of European butter called Plugra because it contains 82 percent butter fat, as opposed to 80 percent in grocery store brand butter. Not to sound "political," but it's all about that 1 percent! I have to confess, I misread the amount of butter and added twice as much. Gulp...guess you could call it the "Paula Deen" technique.
Crack Pie crust is basically an oatmeal cookie recipe _ butter, brown sugar, sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, flour. This separate crust is what makes this pie kind of labor intensive. Once your giant cookie is done, you have to crumble it and run it through a food processor. Then you knead melter butter and you have enough to line 2 pie tins.
The filling was pretty easy, thankfully. Egg yolks, sugar, light brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, kosher salt, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract. The hardest part was getting the corn powder. I forgot that it's basically getting freeze-dried corn and running it through a processor. I stupidly went to AJ's Fine Foods and asked if they had corn powder and the clerk was like "Never heard of it." Once I went home and re-read the recipe and went "Aaaaah," I went to Sprouts market. The clerk there led me to the freezer section where she said "Nope, don't carry it." I wanted to say "Obviously as 'freeze-dried' doesn't mean keep frozen." Anyway, I found myself driving at 9:30 at night to Whole Foods for the elusive kernels in the name of now a true mission.
After all this work, you divide the filling in between the two pie crusts. The filling is pretty custardy/toffee-like.
Then you bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then another 5 minutes at 325. It took a lot longer for mine; I'm pretty sure it was from my butter error. After the pies cool, you put them in the freezer for a minimum 3 hours. Luckily, freezing is the must-do step. According to the book, freezing is the "signature technique." When you're ready to serve it, you have to let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Then you can break into what is supposed to be a dense and gooey plate of addictive pie. In some ways, this was quite a bit of work. But with a name like Crack Pie, I couldn't pass it up.


Anonymous said...

So... how was it?

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes said...

LOVE it, Terry! I really like that you went totally true to the recipe with the Plugra and freeze-dried corn. The pie is totally worthy of it's name, don't you think?? :) Cheers!

wootang (Terry) said...

It was really good and well-received.