Thursday, April 28, 2011

crack pie.

I've had a baker's crush on Christina Tosi of Momofuku's Milk Bar for a while. Although I have not had the opportunity to try any of her desserts, I've heard + read a lot about them. Using inspiration found in reusable pantry items she creates desserts that are clever + uniquely different from the mainstream world of sweets. She makes cookies with corn + chips, cereal milk ice cream, deconstructed cakes and crack pie. Yes, crack pie.

Tosi has supplied Bon Appetit magazine with a variation of her famed creation known as crack pie + after I purchased a jumbo sized bag of dry milk powder (one of Tosi's favorite ingredients) I was ready make one of my own. It's buttery, gooey + loaded with sugar. Essentially it's a the best pecan pie ever, on an oatmeal cookie crust, without pecans.

It's sickly sweet, but truly addictive. I made this pie last night, went to take pictures of it this morning + found that half of it had already been eaten. I was the last one awake and up by 8 am and at some point during the night this crack pie had taken a hold of some of my roommates. Consider yourself warned.

Crack Pie

from Christina Tosi via Bon Appetit

Oat Cookie Crust

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Oat Cookie Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out silpat lined baking sheet; press out evenly onto pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.
  • Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.


  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.
  • Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baking for Japan

"Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world" - Howard Zinn

Just a few short weeks ago the world watched as Japan was struck first by an earthquake, then a terrifying tsunami and are now left sorting through the wreckage with a looming nuclear crisis. Feeling a need to help in some way I did some research to see what I could do. I found information about a Bakesale for Japan that was to be held on April 2nd with all proceeds going to Peace Winds Japan. Organized by a local San Francisco pastry chef; bakers, both professional and amateur were asked to donate delicious and thoughtfully made goods.

The restaurant where I work generously offered to sponsor donations for the bakesale, so on Friday morning the pastry chef + I got to work making delicious maple cupcakes with bourbon buttercream topped with gingersnap crumbs and bags of caramel corn to donate.

It was a great event, many businesses participated including famous bakeries like Tartine and Citizen Cake and tons of home-bakers took time to create some beautiful products.

It was a great reminder that no act of kindness is too small. Enjoy a few photos from the event and a recipe for Maple cupcakes.

Our cupcakes have the cookie crumbles on them.
photo credit here.
Maple Cupcakes

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating half way through.