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by Daniel Walker
For most of us, zipping off to New York City every time a craving for good pie comes along is not a reasonable or financially advisable option. But if you’ve ever sampled the renown “Crack Pie” from Momofuku Milk Bar, you’ve likely given this trip some serious thought a time or two. The Milk Bar, of course, is only one facet of acclaimed chef David Chang’s Momofuku empire. It seems the man can do no wrong, really, as he continues to challenge the culinary world on a regular basis…turning heads and starting trends has become the norm for Momofuku. At the Milk Bar, pastry chef Christina Tosi has continued to maintain the Momofuku reputation. (Who’d have thought that “cereal milk” would be talked about all over the world?) And her signature “Crack Pie,” a pie which she states “named itself,” remains a favorite among New York City sweet lovers.
Crack Pie is similar in nature to a classic southern chess pie, but with a few twists that make it anything but ordinary. It’s not the simplest nor quickest recipe, but the extra time it takes to produce this dessert is quite rewarding when done right. We use this recipe from Bon Appetit, and I’ve found it’s a fairly good way to recreate this sensational pie at home.
You start by essentially making a giant oat cookie. The cookie is baked off to a light golden brown, then demolished to create a crumble that forms the base of the Crack Pie’s crust. The chewy yet still slightly crunchy crust is really the star here and sets this pie apart from those with less complicated crusts.
The pie filling is a sweet buttery concoction that’s baked until it has a creamy, custardy texture. You’ll need to watch the pie a bit to ensure you get the right consistency, but it’s not terribly difficult to time things correctly. Pull it out when the filling is starting to firm up, set around the edges, beginning to brown, but still slightly wobbly in the center. This pie has to chill in the fridge overnight and is served cold, so be sure to plan ahead.
One bite of this pie and soon you’ll be mentally whisked away to the bustling streets of the Big Apple, surrounded by skyscrapers, taxis, and anxious, hurried people zipping by you from every direction. Making a Momofuku Crack Pie at home will never completely replace an actual visit to NYC…but it’s a start, and (for most people) a heck of a lot cheaper.
(photo source: BonAppetit.com)
Daniel Walker is a native of Salt Lake City, but has spent his last few years obsessing over food in Dallas and Little Rock. He currently writes for the Arkansas Times reviewing restaurants and contributing to the food blog “Eat Arkansas.”