Thursday, September 16, 2010

A dessert that completely lives up to its name: Crack Pie

  It may look innocuous...but watch out, it's addictive!
Today, we go back to Christina Tosi, the wizard behind David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar, one of New York's must stops for any dessert lover.  Christina, as you may remember, was behind the Blueberry and Cream cookies that we all loved at the Horse Show.  She’s behind a lot of pastry that is inventive and exciting.  This time she’s behind a pie that’s positively addictive.  You should have seen the dinner guests at a recent evening at our friends’, Don and Jeff’s.  They devoured two of these pies in moments. There were people who went back for thirds! 
Granted, Andrew was sticking to the sliver setting as his doled out this incredible concoction. But I doubt it would have mattered. It just would disappeared faster in larger segments.  There’s no holding back here.  It is simply the most fascinating pie: Salty and sweet, rich and made homey with its crust of old fashioned oats.   What a pie!  So what’s the catch?  It takes a total of 15 hours to make.  Well, it takes about 40 minutes to make.  But there’s a lot of baking and chilling and cooling that goes on. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Christina Tosi's Crack Pie Courtesy of Bon Appetit

For the Oat cookie crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

For oat cookie crust:      It all starts innocently enough...a little brown sugar...some butter...and then, once the oats are added, it doesn't even look that good.  But watch out!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

For filling:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.
Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold. 


  1. This sounds delicious, and I know the oat crust provides some redeeming nutritional value- essential for justifying a sugary dessert

  2. "Redeeming nutritional values", are we joking ? I'm from Eastern kentucky and have been collecting "Transparent Pie Recipes" for many years. This is a basic transparent pie filling recipe made way too complicated to be successful. The cookie crust is for people with way too much time on thier hands. I will send you lots of great traditional transparent pie recipes with honest basic ingredients found in every well supplied country kitchen. Real ingredients made by real people for real food.
    Steve Graves

  3. Hi Steven, Thanks for taking the time to comment. This pie was the most talked about pie in New York when it was introduced. Granted, it is a lot like a chess pie and it is wildly complicated but people just love it.