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Sunday, 8 January 2012

High On Crack.....Pie!

Hahhaha yea I know that was lame =P. But hey, it's true! Alot of you must be wondering what the hell Crack Pie is.....well, it's truly is the most addictive, euphoria-inducing, sickeningly delicious pie I have ever come across.

This pie is so decadent, I actually feel sick after eating it and crave something savoury right after greedily stuffing my face with it. That's the thing I don't get about this pie, it's so rich and sweet, but I can't stop eating it, and I go on a MASSIVE sugar high, moments later crashing suddenly, accompanied by that sickly feeling (slumped on the couch clutching my stomach =P), and vow to myself to never to have a piece again....but then an hour or so later, I find myself craving the goddamn thing again!! WTF!?!?! It truly is a drug.

Ooooo so gooey mmmm......

This recipe came from the infamous sugar-queen Christina Tosi of the Momofuku Milk Bar, who recently released a book full of recipe of her overly-sweet creations. This. Book. Is. Amazing. I know, it's a book that glorifies sugar, butter and all sorts of naughty things, but the recipes are just WOAH! I look at the recipes and I'm torn as to whether I should be horrified at the ingredients list or in awe of the creation that results from their combined use. I was sitting in front of the book, wondering whether I should even ATTEMPT this recipe....but I have heard SO much about this pie, and the Momofuku Milk Bar itself that I just HAD to try it. Milk Bar, along with all of David Chang's other culinary establishments have been sitting at the at the top of my Bucket List for some time now =D.....

I normally don't read cookbooks back to front...not even the beginning bits where they give you a bit about the chef, the ingredient explanations and equipment. This is the first time I've read all those things, and I found it really interesting. Like milk powder is described as the MSG of the baking world....and how Christina Tosi, like me, dislikes milk, and so all the desserts created have the element of milky sweetness based on her perceptions of what that taste is. And so, after reading this book, I believe me and Christina Tosi were separated at birth. Give or take a few years =P. Our obsession with desserts and all things sugar-laden extends beyond the confines of age and race =P. Pretty sure we're on the same wavelength on all levels. Her sugar-manifesto pretty much describes my life! And she is an enigma when it comes to likes and dislikes.....just like me =P.

And after making this pie, and reading the book, I'm pleading, BEGGING David Chang to open a Milk Bar here. PLEEEASE! I think we should start a petition of some sorts folks. Try this pie and I'm sure you'll agree ;).

One ingredient I wanted to point out is the corn powder. In the book, they mention that they make theirs by of processing freeze-dried corn....and I'm not sure if you can get that in Australia. And I'm not sure if its the same thing as cornflour, which is white, while their corn powder is quite yellow. SO I went searching and I found this organic maize (corn) flour which is yellow - it was at a health food store in my local shopping centre. It looks like the corn powder they use, so that's what I'm gonna stick with.

The good thing about this book is that they give exact accurate measurements in grams and also what they 'freedom' measurements - using cups and spoons etc. Personally, I'd stick to the gram measurements because it's more accurate, but I've provided both for those without an electronic scale.

Crack Pie
Adapted from The Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi

For the oat cookie:
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
75g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar, packed tightly
40g (3 tbsp) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
80g (1/2 cup) flour
120g (1 & 1/2 cups) rolled oats
0.5g (1/8 tsp) baking powder
0.25g (pinch) baking soda
2g (1/2 tsp) salt

For the filling:
300g (1 & 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
180g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, packed tightly
20g (1/4 cup) milk powder
24g (1/4 cup) corn powder
6g (1 & 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
225g (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
160g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
2g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
8 egg yolks

For the pie:
15 g (1 tbsp) light brown sugar, packed tightly
1g (1/4 tsp) salt
55g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the oat cookie:
1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

2. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

3. On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Coat a quarter sheet pan with cooking spray, and line it with baking paper. Place the cookie dough in the centre of the pan and spread it out with a spatula until it is ¼-inch thick. The dough won't end up covering the entire pan; this is OK.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie — caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. Cool completely before using. Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the filling:
1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.

2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2-3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2-3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogeneous. Mix on low speed until it is. Use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the pie:
1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don't have a food processor, you can crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)

3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1-1 ½ tablespoons butter and knead it in. 

4. Divide the oat crust evenly between two 10-inch pie tins. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

5. Put both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them ¾ of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly. 

6. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 160C (325F). Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reaches 325 degrees, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull's-eye centre but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.

7. Gently take the pan of crack pies out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the refrigerator or freezer if you're in a hurry.) Then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product — freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie.

8. If not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pies from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you're ready to get in there. 

9. Serve your crack pie cold! Decorate your pie with confectioners' sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers. 

And just another picture, just to tempt you further.....

It's a pretty long recipe, but it's quite easy to make. Christina Tosi also stresses that you MUST use an electric mixer when it says, not a hand-beater, because you wont get the same results. AND, make sure you don't incorporate too much air into the filling.....this pie is supposed to be dense and gooey, so make sure you beat it on low when it says so.  

Enjoy =D xx

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