I was super excited to hear that a new series of Chef’s Table was about to start on Netflix, and even more pumped to learn that this series was all about pastry chefs. And then I was over the moon to learn that one of the featured chefs was none other than Christina Tosi, legendary founder and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar. She’s the one who gave us the infamous Birthday Cake and the reason that Milk Bar will be my first stop in New York, when I finally get there.
The episode covered how Christina started out in the world of pastry, and how she invented her famous Crack Pie. Apparently, when she was working at Momofuku she used to bring in desserts for the staff meal. One day, after looking in her rather empty fridge, she started throwing ingredients together and took the final product into work. The staff devoured it with one saying ‘it was just like crack’, and thus, the Crack Pie was born.
I knew I needed to try this pie as it’s unlike any pie I’ve made before, and I’ve certainly never made anything with freeze dried corn. It’s actually a pretty simple pie to make. The crust is made from a big oat cookie and the filling comes together quickly. You’ve probably got all of the ingredients in your pantry, except the freeze dried corn (see notes.) Next up – Christina’s Compost Cookies and the Chocolate Malt Cake.
Because the notes are super important for this recipe I’m going to pop them up top this time:
- The measurements, ingredients, and directions for this recipe are extremely important. Follow them to a T.
- Fresh As produce freeze dried corn but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I bought the Kiwigarden freeze dried corn kernels and blitzed them in my food processor.
- I used a 25cm loose bottom pie tin to bake my pies. I baked the first one on the oven rack and it leaked all over the bottom of the oven. I baked the second one on a baking tray lined with baking paper which was much better. If you are using a loose bottomed tin, be sure to line the bottom with baking paper.
- The recipes call for what might seem like a lot of salt, but don’t skimp on it. It definitely contributes to the flavour.
- Yes, we need a lot of egg yolks. Save the whites – you can freeze them or turn them into macarons or a pavlova.
- Make sure you freeze it – that’s what gives the pie its density.
- The pie crust will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
- If you are not serving the pies straight away, wrap well in plastic. They will keep refrigerated for 5 days, or frozen for 1 month.
- Recipe via Christina Tosi. All hail Christina Tosi.
For the oat cookie
115g butter, at room temperature
75g brown sugar
40g white sugar
1 egg yolk
80g bread flour
120g rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of baking soda
plus another tablespoon of brown sugar and 55g butter, melted (this is for binding the crust)
For the filling
300g white sugar
180g brown sugar
20g milk powder
24g freeze dried sweetcorn powder
225g butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
First make the oat cookie
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 mins.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the egg yolk. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is pale, 1-2 mins.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix until the dough comes together.
Spread out onto the baking paper, about 5mm thick. It should cover a roughly 25x25cm area. Bake until caramelised on top, puffed slightly but set firmly, about 15 minutes.
Cool completely and break into pieces.
Pulse the oat cookie, brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter. Knead until it is moist enough to form a ball.
If it’s not moist enough, melt an additional 14-25g butter and knead it in.
Divide it in half and press into two 25cm diameter pie tins (see notes). Press firmly into the base and up the sides. Set aside.
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the sugars, milk powder, sweetcorn powder and 1½ teaspoon salt on low speed until blended.
Add the butter and beat until the dry ingredients are moist, 2-3 mins, then add the cream and vanilla and beat until the streaks from the cream disappear, 2-3 mins.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the yolks and beat to just combine. Be careful not to overmix, we don’t want to aerate the mixture but it needs to be glossy and homogenous.
Divide amongst the pie crusts, filling ¾ full, and place the pie tin on the baking tray. Bake until golden brown and very jiggly, 15 mins, then open the oven door and reduce the temperature to 170°C. (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.) When the oven reaches 170°C, close the door and bake for another 5 minutes or so. The pies should be jiggly in the centre but no around the edges. (I needed to bake mine for another 10 minutes in total.)
Gently remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Freeze the pies to condense the filling, a minimum of 3 hours but preferably overnight.
Transfer the pie from the freezer to the fridge to thaw for one hour before serving (it’s best served cold.) Dust with icing sugar to serve.
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