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This one is personal. Today we celebrate Pi Day — 3/14 — also lovingly referred to as pie day. But perhaps most importantly (to me) it’s the anniversary of when my husband and I began dating. Today marks 16 years together. Sixteen! I’m 32 years old… which means I’ve spent half of my life with John by my side. We are decidedly celebrating with this Milk Bar Crack Pie recipe! Let’s discuss.
You’ve heard of Milk Bar’s crack pie, right? It’s the famous dessert developed by genius chef Christina Tosi. I’m not kidding, the woman is on another level. This Crack Pie recipe — as with most of her creations — has so many different components that the average person (or chef!) would never dream about pairing together. And yet the results are flawless, flavor-filled show stoppers that our world is certainly better off having experienced. In other words, you need this recipe in your life!
What is Crack Pie?
Milk Bar’s Crack Pie is the culmination of two unique recipes being married together. The oat cookie crust is the star of the show. It’s buttery, salty! (thank god for a pastry chef who doesn’t shy away from salt!), chewy, and should henceforth be used as the base for all pies. Agree? AGREE.
I used two containers of Modern Oats Just Oats, which is the exact amount needed for the double pie recipe below; if all you’ve got is one container, you can still make a single pie! These oats are everything — I’m talking light, tender, whole rolled oat perfection. I have tried almost every flavor in their line at this point, and while I definitely have favorites, I was so excited to learn that they carry the quality basics as well. Above all, use high-quality ingredients when you cook and the results will speak for themselves.
The second component is a bit more laborious. However, what is Milk Bar Crack Pie if not for its infamous gooey, luscious filling? If you’re reading through the ingredient list, you’re possibly scratching your head at the addition of corn powder. It’s exactly what it sounds like: freeze dried corn that’s been pulverized into powder. And you can pick up your very own bottle at your local Milk Bar store or order online.
What’s in Crack Pie?
To make Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie recipe, you’ll need quite a few ingredients. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!). The oat cookie crust is made with rolled oats, butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar, egg yolk, all-purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder, and salt.
The addicting Crack Pie filling uses brown sugar and granulated sugar, milk powder, corn powder, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and lots of egg yolks. A light and refreshing treat, right?
Side note: one of the perks of having my husband work in NYC is that any time I have a craving — Doughnut Plant? Daily Provisions? Murray’s Bagels? — or am in need of a special ingredient, I politely ask (read: guilt him) to make a special trip and bring home the goods.
Thanks, hubs, for your contribution to our anniversary dessert! You worked really hard!
How to make Milk Bar’s Crack Pie
There is definitely a bit of skill required to pull this together, but Christina Tosi provides incredible detail in her instructions, along with tips and tricks, to make your Crack Pie endeavor a successful one. For real people, you can do this.
Here’s the basic rundown of how to make Momofuku’s Crack Pie from scratch:
- Make a batch of oat cookie dough, then spread it out on a baking sheet and bake.
- Once baked and cooled, add the massive oat cookie to a food processor along with some brown sugar and salt. Process until it resembles sand.
- Stir the cookie mixture and melted butter together. It should be wet enough to form a ball.
- Divide the oat cookie crust between two pie plates and press down to shape it.
- Then, make the Crack Pie filling.
- Divide the filling between the two pie crusts.
- Bake the Crack Pies (read through the instructions below for the special way to do this).
- Let the pies cool to room temperature, then freeze them for 3 hours.
- Pop the frozen pies into the fridge for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Can I use a store-bought cookie crust?
Absolutely not! The oat cookie crust is what makes this pie, in my opinion.
Do I have to freeze the pie before refrigerating it?
Sorry pal, but you must freeze the pies before refrigerating them. Freezing the Crack Pie filling helps it condense and makes for a super gooey, dense pie.
Tips for making Milk Bar’s Crack Pie
Don’t try substituting any of the ingredients in this Crack Pie recipe. You need all the ingredients listed below to make an authentic Momofuku Crack Pie.
If you couldn’t already tell from the instructions for this recipe, Crack Pie takes a long ass time to make. Give yourself plenty of time to prep the crust and filling, bake it off, then freeze it.
And if you’re going to make Milk Bar’s crack pie recipe, make sure you have someone extra special lined up to share it with. I’m so grateful I have my forever and always, food-loving partner in crime wrapped around my arms. Life would be so much less wonderful without you stealing food from off my plate.
Happy anniversary, my love.
If you make this Milk Bar Crack Pie, please let me know by leaving a review below! And make sure to sign up for my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more Well Seasoned recipes!
For other crowd pleasing desserts, check out the following recipes:
Milk Bar’s Crack Pie
For the pies (makes 2 [10-inch] pies):
- 1 recipe oat cookie recipe follows
- 15 g 1 Tbsp tightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 g ¼ tsp salt
- 55 g 4 Tbsp butter, melted, or as needed
- 1 recipe crack pie® filling recipe follows
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
For the oat cookie recipe (makes about 1 quarter sheet pan):
- 115 g 8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 75 g ⅓ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- 40 g 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 80 g ½ cup flour
- 120 g 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 0.5 g ⅛ tsp baking powder
- 0.25 g pinch baking soda
- 2 g ½ tsp kosher salt
- pam or other nonstick cooking spray optional
For the crack pie filling (makes enough for 2 pies):
- 300 g 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 180 g ¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- 20 g ¼ cup milk powder
- 24 g ¼ cup corn powder
- 6 g 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 225 g 16 Tbsp butter, melted
- 160 g ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 g ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 8 egg yolks**
For the pies:
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- 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 fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
- 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 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and knead it in.
- Divide the oat crust evenly between 2 (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 fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Put both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie® filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
- Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. 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° F, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center 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.
- 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 fridge 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®.
- 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 pie(s) from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.
- Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate your pie(s) with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.
For the Oat Cookie recipe:
- Heat the oven to 350° F.
- 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 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
- 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.
- Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan and, with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan; this is ok.
- 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 fridge for up to 1 week.
For the Crack Pie Filling:
- You must use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make this filling. It only takes a minute, but it makes all the difference in the homogenization and smooth, silky final product. I repeat: a hand whisk and a bowl or a granny hand mixer will not produce the same results. Also, keep the mixer on low speed through the entire mixing process. If you try to mix the filling on higher speed, you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey-the essence of crack pie®.
- 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.
- Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 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.
- 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 homogenous. Mix on low speed until it is.
- Use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.