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Momofuku’s Bake the Book Series: Crack Pie

March 13, 2013

by EmilyIMG_3945

I was ready to act when my friend Emily sent me a link for Momofuku Milk Bar’s “Bake the Book” class held by the author Christina Tosi in Milk Bar’s commercial kitchen in Brooklyn. After a very positive experience attending David Lebovitz’s class in Houston with Lauren of Sunday Beach, I had a good feeling about spending an evening learning how to bake her very popular “Crack Pie” recipe and make a little cereal milk for the road.

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If you own the book or have access to one, I urge you to read the forward and this cute Q&A from the Refinery29 Working Girl series. The book gives you a detailed account of Tosi’s past, inspiration to become a pastry chef, and work ethic. The extra bonus in the class was not only the opportunity to meet and bake with Tosi, but experience her intensity. She’s waaaaay with it, and her class felt like occupational therapy.

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Another bonus? The great tips she provided. While some of these are Milk Bar baking specific, others translate across all aspects of the kitchen.

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1. Use European style, unsalted butter

Cultured before churned, European butter provides a better “depth of flavor” than regular butter due to its higher fat content. Unsalted is definitely preferred so that you can control the salt and flavor of the recipe. Read more about European butter here.

2. Incorporate corn

Many Milk Bar recipes call for corn of several varieties. From corn flakes (to make cereal milk) to corn powder (ground up, toasted corn), Tosi finds that corn adds an interesting “depth of flavor” that you will not get from flour alone.

3. Toast things

Speaking to #2, usually they toast the corn and I imagine this same logic applies to nuts as well. Toasting the corn (flakes or powder) provides another level and depth of flavor that the plain version just won’t offer. Go the extra mile!

4. Use excellent ingredients

Milk Bar is dedicated to using local, organic, and non-GMO ingredients. If you are creating something delicious, it will taste even better when you start with excellent ingredients (European style, unsalted butter, full fat organic milk, etc.)

5. Make use of your stand mixer

Many of the recipes in Milk Bar’s cookbook call for use of a stand mixer. By mixing low and slow, ingredients get incorporated evenly across mixes. We used Breville’s Scraper Mix Pro that the company donated for their classes and they are pretty fab. The video of Tosi in that link is pretty cool, too. If you don’t have a stand mixer, no worries. Just put some muscle in it!

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If you are in the New York City area, I highly reccommend the class. Unlike many other cooking or baking classes, this is more than a demonstration and you get to do the baking yourself. If you are not in the New York City area, gather up the Crack Pie ingredients and bake a la your maison!

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Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie
by Christina Tosi

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

Filling

  • 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)

Oat Cookie Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-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.

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.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2013 5:14 pm

    What a fun experience! Sad I missed this one! xo

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  1. Simple Sides: Cornmeal Crusted Potatoes | Deux Maisons

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