Oh, the life (and love) of pie! Yeah, that was the June Daring Bakers challenge. And what a fantastic one it turned out to be.
Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!
I can ‘aye’ to that, especially since I went after the one thing that intrigued me – Crack Pie. Perhaps you are shaking your head with a ‘she couldn’t really mean ‘crack’?’ To the uninitiated like me who are thinking “Really, where does one source the cocaine?” or “Is this even legal?”, “Perhaps it calls for a ‘legally permissible’ quantity?”, “Uh, sounds like a challenge for sure – just sourcing the key ingredient, what fun!?”
Oh well, hate to burst the adventure bubble, like mine did. Set about finding its origins and alas found out wherefore it is so named. The name’s actually trademarked by New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar. And why the provocative nomenclature? Apparently, and I was more than ready to test this out, it is as addictive as crack-cocaine. Now, of course, this has to be subjective, and not just because you needed to have ‘used’ to know in the first place! But to go so far as to patent a pie thus because some people claim addiction smacks of a media blitz. So, all the more reason to try it out and see for myself.
Now, the moment I saw the recipe I had a couple of seizures seeing the amount of a) sugar b) more sugar (albeit brown) and c) butter. So, doing what I do, I made a note to cut it dramatically down to size to suit my very limited sweet and even more limited ‘buttery’ tooth. So, I would have to have two versions – the original which would probably be the final kick in the … to finally land me in the gym, and the ‘my’ version almost halving the butter and sugar. The end result of both, which I shall talk about later, was still a very buttery sweet pie with, and I must admit, a mind-blowing oat cookie crust. That, i.e. the crust proudly takes the crown – almost surreptitiously creeping in into the whole that is the pie and rendering it with a crunch and a flavour that does indeed leave you wanting a few more of those little crumbs that fell off when you cut the last slice.
Now, having said that and not yet being on a sugar-high after nicking yet-another ‘tiny’ slice of the pie from the refrigerator, I am left wondering at a scenario where the Momofuku Milk Bar set up shop in our land. Oh my! This could become a rage here. That would of course be for the lovers. The haters would say, “What’s the big deal? Its like a dozen other overly sweet sweets.” Either way, given our already formed and judgemental palettes and s-w-e-e-t tooth, the crack pie smacks of home. Once again, the differentiator is the crust.
The verdict: Well, I wouldn’t call it my favourite pie, or even the next on the list, but I am biased with a lower sugar threshold. So, I am definitely going back for more of my lower fat and sugar version. But the crust, my, the crust was ingenious and a ‘Crack’er! I can see myself using and adapting it for many more pies to come. Totally floored.
Now, the recipe, of course. Very conveniently, the cookie crust turned out to be enough to line two six-inch pie moulds for me. Then I took a half measure of the filling from the original given recipe below and made one tart as per the original. And in the other half I reduced the quantity of butter and sugar to about half again. The first, as I said, was way too sweet for the family, but the second was fantastic. Just right on the butter and leaning towards the very sweet but great-on-days-when-you-need-the-instant-sugar-high. This differentiation made me half think the ‘crack’ must refer to the ‘high’ that it gives almost instantaneously. Anyway, we’ve already dissected that :-)
So, I’ll stop the rant and here’s the ‘original’ recipe. Source: Bon Appetit. Thanks again Rachael. Was totally worth it!
Ingredients (Oat Cookie Crust):
|Unsalted butter||9 tbsp / 125 gms (divided 6 and 3 tbsp)|
|Brown sugar||5 ½ tbsp / 70 gms (divided 4 and 1 ½ tbsp)|
|Granulated sugar||2 tbsp / 30 gms|
|Oats||¾ cup + 2 tbsp / 80 gms|
|All-purpose flour||½ cup / 70 gms|
|Baking powder||1/8 tsp|
|Baking soda||1/8 tsp|
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C. Grease or line a baking sheet or pan. Soften butter at room temperature. In the bowl of your hand mixer whisk together 6 tbsp butter, 4 tbsp brown sugar and the ganulated sugar. Whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the egg and whisk again until pale and fluffy.
Add the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix again until the mixture is well blended.
Now, pour this out evenly onto your baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes.
Once done, take it out and cool completely on a wire rack. Then using your hands crumble the cookie completely. Add to this the remaining butter (3 tbsp) and brown sugar (1 1/2 tbsp) and rub it in until the mixture gets moist and sticky. Now scoop this out onto your pie dish and press it out onto the sides and the bottom.
There you go, ready for the next round – the filling, which is easy as can be.
|Granulated sugar||¾ cup / 170 gms|
|Brown sugar||½ cup / 100 gms|
|Dry milk powder||1 tbsp / 8gms|
|Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled||½ cup / 115 gms|
|Heavy whipping cream||6 ½ tbsp / 100 ml|
|Egg yolks||4 large|
|Vanilla extract||1 tsp|
|Powdered sugar||For dusting|
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars, milk powder and salt. Add the melted butter and whisk again.
Add the cream, egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour it out into the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. The filling should be bubbling. Reduce the temperature to 160˚C and bake for another 20 minutes. The filling should have browned and set around the edges.
When deciding on baking times, always account for variables like the size of your pie, the colour of your baking dish etc. and then go with your gut! ;-)
Cool the pie completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate to chill overnight. The next day sprinkle powdered sugar, unmould and cut it out as you like, or just dig in with a fork. Nothing’s stopping you, right?