If you read the Cap’n Crunch Ice Cream post, where I promised you you would have another use for freeze-dried corn, the wait is finally over! If you’re curious why it took so long for me to make this pie, I have an excuse. Albeit an embarrassing one. You see, when you and your friend are secretly (or not-so-secretly) addicted to Gossip Girl and are in love with Chuck Bass, you sometimes make bad decisions. One of those bad decisions was waiting several weeks for the 2013 Romeo and Juliet movie to come in at the library before we would get together for Crack Pie. Simply because Ed Westwick plays Tybalt.
Don’t get me wrong. Ed Westwick was a sexy, ragey Tybalt. Unfortunately, his screen time was perhaps a total of 10 minutes, and the rest of the time we were forced to watch the drivel that is Romeo and Juliet. There is only one Romeo and Juliet in my book. I’m talking Leo and Claire, baby. We spent half of the movie groaning over how much we hated the actors playing Romeo and Juliet, who had nowhere near the chemistry of their 1996 counterparts, and the other half chatting and flat out ignoring what was going on on the screen until one of us yelled “Tybalt Alert!”
Alicia had requested that I make Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie a month ago, and the thought process went something like: Crack Pie = Momofuku = New York = Gossip Girl = Ed Westwick = Romeo and Juliet (2013). Therefore Crack Pie = Romeo & Juliet (2013). I think that’s called the transitive property. Math.
But since every other person in the city in love with Ed Westwick (very unlikely anyone else over the age of 18) had reserved the movie to gawk at Tybalt Bass, we had to wait a long, long time.
Toward the end of the terrible movie, just after Tybalt bites it, I hacked into this pie. And I do mean hacked. Crack Pie is a sugar pie. While the recipe called for only 20-25 total minutes of baking time, I baked my pies for over an hour. Because they were just too jiggly! I have a tendency to underbake custards when the recipe tells me that the center should be jiggly, and I didn’t want to make that mistake with these pies. Christina Tosi’s recipe says that only a “bullseye” in the center of the pie should be jiggly. So I waited, checking the pies in the oven every 5 minutes. I desperately didn’t want a pie that leaked all over the place when I cut into it.
Finally, I felt comfortable taking the pies out, set them in the freezer, headed to bed, and hoped for the best. I’ve never had the “real deal,” so I have no idea if my version is close in taste or consistency to what’s being served up in NYC, but it is super. duper. sweet. If crack is addictive (and I have heard tell that it is), I don’t know if Crack Pie is an appropriate name. After one slice of this pie, I had no inclinations to go back for a second. My husband, who has a lower sugar tolerance than I do, took two bites and shoved the plate away from him. But, like crack, this pie is incredibly bad for you. It’s basically butter and sugar. If you melted butter, stirred in some brown sugar, and drank it, you wouldn’t be far off.
I don’t mean to scare you away. Even though it’s is overwhelmingly sweet, this pie is good and has an interesting flavor profile. It’s corny (you know, from the dried corn powder and all), and I likened it to a Cap’n Crunch pie. The oat cookie crust is my favorite part, with its toasty grains and butter. It’s a lengthy process to get to the final product, so don’t bother with Crack Pie unless Lady Sugar is your mistress. For those of you who live in New York or have tried the authentic Crack Pie: is the consistency more dense like mine, or more runny? The curiosity is killing me.
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) light brown sugar, tightly packed, divided
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups (120 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
- ¼ cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (180 grams) light brown sugar, tightly packed
- ¼ cup (20 grams) milk powder
- ¼ cup (24 grams) corn powder*
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup (160 grams) heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 egg yolks
- confectioners' sugar (for dusting)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine room-temperature butter, granulated sugar, and ⅓ cup (75 grams) of brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg yolk with the mixer at low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is very light in color and the sugar has dissolved.
- In a small bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Turn the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Plop all of the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet and use your fingers to press it into a slab that is about ¼-inch thick. It will not cover the entire pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cookie slab is cool, break it up into pieces and place the pieces in a food processor with remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) brown sugar, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Pulse until the cookie is broken down into crumbs that resemble wet sand. Pour crumbs into a bowl and stir in melted butter. The mixture should stay together when pinched between your fingers.
- Divide crumb mixture between two 9-inch pie pans and press evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Set aside while you make the filling.
- Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are blended.
- Keep the mixer on low, pour in the melted butter, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the egg yolks and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined, but do not overmix.
- Divide the filling evenly into the prepared crusts. Place pie pans on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and crack the oven door until it reaches that temperature. Close the door and bake at 325°F for 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown, the edges are set, but a small circle in the center of the pie still jiggles when you gently shake the pie pan.
- Remove pie pans to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then place the pies in the freezer for at least 3 hours, and preferably overnight. 1-2 hours before serving, place the pies in the refrigerator. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
- *You can make corn powder by processing freeze-dried corn in a food processor until it forms a dust. You can buy freeze-dried corn at Target or from online retailers.