Pie Pies & Tarts

The Lazy Girl’s Crack Pie

This is admittedly a sort of baking blasphemy, but my brother asked me to make a Crack Pie for Christmas, and I didn’t feel like making the oatmeal cookie crust when there was so much other baking to do. So I cheated. I used a pre-made graham cracker crust. And, frankly, it was still great.

If you’re not familiar with the Momofuku Milk Bar (in New York, Toronto, and DC), it’s a bakery famous for this pie and several other marvelous and somewhat complicated recipes. I got the Milk Bar and Milk Bar Life cookbooks for Christmas, so you’ll likely be hearing more about these things in the coming months. I haven’t yet read up to know why crack pie is called crack pie, but I assume it’s ’cause it’s so freakin’ sweet. Which, to me, is awesome.

Proper crack pie requires an oatmeal cookie crumb crust, so you have to make a pan of oatmeal cookie mix, then turn it into crumbs, etc. Given the amount of holiday baking I had on the agenda, I couldn’t be bothered – especially since the filling is fussy enough.

The graham crust was great, but my mom’s ovens are being totally unreliable temperature-wise, and since you have to drop the temp mid-way through baking, getting the custard to set was a total fiasco.

15-12-23 Lazy Crack Pie Mess

The top burned before the center was even remotely set, and I got real frustrated with the whole thing. I mean, I had to go into the other room and meditate level of frustration. It ultimately set, but as you can see, it wasn’t pretty. I was dubious about how it might taste, but, apparently it turned out fine.

I took it out of the fridge this afternoon at 3:30, and by 4:10 all that was left (between my dad, my brother, and my mom) was the sliver in the main image. Clearly, it lives up to its title.

Outside the Milk Bar cookbook, the recipe can be found in Bon Appetit (from which I pulled most of what follows).

Lazy Version of Momofuku’s Crack Pie

Grade: A (the full version gets an A+)

  • 1 store-bought graham cracker crust
  • 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)

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 for 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).

If you have oven temp issues like I did, just cook the sucker until the edges are set and there isn’t too much jiggle in the center. If it starts to get too brown, you *can* cover it with foil, but as you can see in the picture above, that’ll result in an ugly pie.

Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.

**The cookbook version strongly recommends separating eggs by hand rather than using the two halves of the shell (which I normally do). I did this for another holiday recipe and really noticed the difference in terms of how separated you can get it by hand. Will use this messier method hereafter and really recommend you do the same.

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