Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crack Pie

After a very long wait, I have Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi out from the library on inter-library loan. I have to admit, I'm a little confused by it.

All I can think is at it a very New York, very restaurant kind of cookbook.

I read the New York Times on my IPad, and it amazes me how out of touch New Yorkers can be with the rest of the country. As an example, in a restaurant review, Jeff Gordinier said "even the mainstream diner can expound on the provenance of sea urchin and wild ramps." I know of ramps, kind of a wild garlic, but that's only because I have a brother who hunts in West Virginia and prepares his venison with locally foraged food when he's on a hunting trip. And my only experience with sea urchin is watching my Dad eat it at a Frederick sushi restaurant, and I respect his subsequent judgement that some things are not meant to be eaten, at least by me.

So when Christina Tosi spends four days on the Milk Bar Birthday Cake, which is intended to be a recreation of Funfetti Cake from a box, with canned frosting, I'm a little quizzical.

But I will put my reverse-snobbery aside and actually try making a recipe. We are having the Elders (LDS missionaries) over for dessert and I wanted to try something new and challenging. Milk Bar, with its multi-component recipes is not simple.

I decided that Crack Pie won't be too challlenging to eat (both of the visiting Elders are from Utah), I am also in the rare position of having all the ingredients already, as I keep freeze-dried corn and dried milk in my pantry.

I started by making the oatmeal cookie slab for the crust.

Christina Tosi is very hardcore about creaming butter and sugar. She writes that creaming should take at least 9 minutes with a stand mixer: 2 minutes with the butter and sugars, and 7 minutes after the eggs are added.

I followed the instructions, and the finished cookie dough was indeed very fluffy.

The finished cookie slab was very good. I might try this recipe for a normally-sized cookie, adding in some chocolate chips. All oatmeal cookies need chocolate chips.

The filling is sort of a custard, with cream, dried milk, freeze dried corn processed to powder, light brown sugar, and lots of egg yolks. Think of pecan pie without the pecans, or shoofly pie without the molasses.

After the cookie cooled all night, I crumbled it in a food processor and mixed in (more) butter to make a crumb crust,

then smoothed the filling into the crust.

I baked the pie at 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then 10 minutes at 325. The center is still jiggly, and the cookie crust has melted and floated. Maybe I should have baked the cookie longer? The good news is that it's supposed to be ugly, and powdered sugar covers a multitude of sins.

After 4 hours in the freezer and 1 hour in refrigerator, I served it to the Elders. And we all really, really liked it. The two of us who have a sweet tooth both had seconds, and the one who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth did finish his slice. Really, really good, but really, really, REALLY sweet.

I have to say, this is a once a year kind of recipe for me. I would get very ill if I had this available all the time. This might be a very good potluck recipe though scaled up.

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