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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

milk bar crack pie Cooking View

If you are into food and have not been in a coma or living under a rock, chances are that you have heard of the infamous crack pie from the genius Christina Tosi and team at Milk Bar in NYC. I’ve heard about it for years, readers have been asking me to post about it for years, but it took me a while to get around to it. I first tried it when I visited Milk Bar a few years ago and it was pretty good, but maybe not quite all it was…cracked up to be. (Aaaaall the sheepish blushing – I HAD to!) Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but other things we tried there were better. As most of you know, I’ve been diving deep into the milk bar cookbook for the past few years and, though I haven’t counted, I’m confident I have made about three quarters of the recipes. It was time to make crack pie myself and give it another shot.

So, last fall, I made it. And, as you probably guessed by the fact that it is appearing here now, I loved it. It’s a bit tough to describe exactly what it is – an oat cookie crust with a custardy, caramel-y amazing slice of pie. Sweet and salty with a perfect texture, it is best understood by trying it for yourself. I believe I may have underbaked mine a couple of minutes and I honestly think that may have been the difference. The slice I tried at the physical bakery was similar, but mine had this oozing bit of caramel goodness that you could scrape up with your fork and it was out of this world. Great on its own but even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, give it a try in your own kitchen and see what you think!

Milk Bar Crack Pie
Yield: 2 9-inch pies

Ingredients

For the oat cookie mixture: 

  • 115 grams (8 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
  • 40 grams (3 tbsp.) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80 grams (½ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 120 grams (1½ cups) old-fashioned oats
  • 0.5 grams (1/8 tsp.) baking powder
  • 0.25 grams (pinch) baking soda
  • 2 grams (½ tsp.) kosher salt

To complete the crust: 

  • 15 grams (1 tbsp.) light brown sugar
  • 1 gram ( tsp.) salt
  • 55 grams (4 tbsp.) butter, melted

For the filling: 

  • 300 grams (1½ cups) granulated sugar
  • 180 grams (¾ cup) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 20 grams (¼ cup) milk powder
  • 24 grams (¼ cup) corn powder*
  • 6 grams (1½ tsp.) kosher salt
  • 225 grams (16 tbsp.) butter, melted
  • 160 grams (¾ cup) heavy cream
  • 2 grams (½ tsp.) vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
Cooking View

Directions

  • To make the oat cookie, heat the oven to 350˚ F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Cream together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add in the egg yolk. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is pale white.

  • With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix briefly, until the dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be slightly fluffy and fatty. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment, put the cookie dough in the center of the pan and spread it out until it is ¼-inch thick. (It won’t cover the entire pan.) Bake for 15 minutes or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie, puffed slightly but firmly. Cool completely before proceeding.

  • Heat the oven to 350˚ F. Put the oat cookie in a food processor with the brown sugar and salt. Pulse until the mixture is broken down into something resembling wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until moist enough to form a ball. (If necessary, use an additional tablespoon or two of butter.) Divide the oat crust evenly between 2 (9-inch) pie plates. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie plate so that the bottom and sides are covered.

  • To make the filling, combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until evenly blended. Add the melted butter and mix for 2-3 minutes until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed for 2-3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have disappeared. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the egg yolks, mixing just until combined. Be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be sure it is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low speed until it reaches this point.

  • Put the pie plates on a baking sheet. Divide the filling between the two pies. (The pie shells should be about three quarters of the way full.) Bake for 15 minutes. The pie should be golden brown on top but still very jiggly.

  • Open the oven door a crack and lower the temperature 325˚ F. Once the oven reaches 325˚ F, close the door again. Bake 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the very center but not around the edges. If necessary, bake 5 minutes more if the pies haven’t reached this point.

  • Gently transfer the pan with the pies to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature. Then freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight to condense the filling.

  • If not serving right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. The pies will keep 5 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator a minimum of 1 hour before slicing and serving. Serve cold with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

  • *Notes: 

    • The original recipe is meant for two 10-inch pies. However, I know of almost no one who has 10-inch pie plates. I made mine in 9-inch plates and disposed of the leftover filling. 
    • Hey, what’s corn powder?! It’s ground up freeze dried corn. This may sound odd but I’m actually obsessed with it and you’ll be seeing more recipes that use it on these pages in the future so you might want to be like me and just order it in bulk. You can use a food processor or spice grinder to pulse it into a fine powder.

Source

  • Angela

    So much deliciousness. It’s difficult to whittle down my pick for Pi day. This post (so glad you posted!) takes me back to the drawing (baking?) board.

    Have a great week.

  • Liz N.

    I love seeing your recipes from the Milk Bar cookbook! I feel ashamed to admit that I haven’t made a single recipe yet and I’ve owned the book for about a year! I’m going to change that in the coming months finally dive into the book. There are some birthdays coming up that will be great reasons to bake. Is the filling sort of flan-like in texture or more like pecan pie filling (consistency)? I shouldn’t be looking at this recipe right before a check up. Looking at food in a fasted state is torture!

  • Lanette

    This looks delicious. Plan on making it for Wednesday evening. Just waiting for the corn powder from Amazon. :)

  • Annie

    I would say it’s similar to salty honey pie if you’ve ever made that, but maybe more dense.

  • Annie

    Since fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Amber

    I was worried you had been too stressed of late to give us a new recipe in time for Pi Day… I worried in vain. Thanks for coming through again! :)

  • Annie

    Pretty close to it, but I couldn’t miss Pi Day. Not sure if you follow on instagram but I am pretty real over there about how I’m feeling, both good and bad (in case you ever wonder what’s up with me.)

  • Molly

    I just ordered some freeze dried corn so I can make this pie this weekend!

  • Mary Redmond

    I’m enjoying your Instagram posts. You’ve posted some wonderful photos. I loved following your Chicago trip.

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Ok, I finally broke down and purchased the milk bar cookbook because it just seemed too wacky not to be amazing and I have made a bunch of the recipes: the cookies (corn, compost, marshmallow corn flake chocolate chip) and cakes (chocolate chip, carrot) have been sooo yummy but so far the pies have been less than wonderful by virtue of the fact that they have each come out looking like they are done but tasted undercooked, not yummy gooey undercooked but raw egg undercooked. Even increasing the cooking time didn’t do much for me. I think discarding some of the filling might be just the ticket. yay! I will give them another go.

  • Shari

    Did you hear she is working on a new cookbook (mainly cakes)? It will be released next fall.