I am actually a fan of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day desserts. ❤ But, after receiving this recipe from Nancy of Feasting With Friends Blog, I knew that I had to make this pie to celebrate with my family this year. I suppose I could have made it more celebratory by dusting the confectioners’ sugar in hearts! Next time…
I have made the Bon Appetit version of this best-selling Momofuku Milk Bar pie a few times in the past. This version is the real deal (I think!). They are both delicious, of course! 😉 Salted caramel-esque. Sweet and salty with an oat cookie crust. Mmmmm!
If I had known it was going to be the coldest Valentine’s Day in 100 years, I may have picked a cozier dessert! This version of the pie is served directly from the freezer… Thankfully, this is purely for texture, the actual pie didn’t taste cold. Whew! The original recipe makes 2 pies, so I divided it in half. (It sounds crazy, but I was scared to have too much of a good thing.)
By the way, there is truth in the name… we all had seconds! 😉 Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! ❤
Yield: One 10-inch pie or 9-inch pie, 8-10 servings
For the Oat Cookie:
- 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 T tightly packed light brown sugar
- 20 g (1/2 T) granulated sugar
- 1/2 egg yolk
- 40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 60 g (3/4 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 0.25 g (1/16 tsp) baking powder
- 0.125 g half-pinch baking soda
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
- pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
For the Pie Filling:
- 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) tightly packed light brown sugar
- 10 g (2 T) milk powder
- 12 g (2 T cup) freeze-dried corn powder
- 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
- 8 T butter, melted
- 80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) heavy cream
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks**
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, to finish
To Complete the Crust:
- 1 recipe oat cookie (above)
- 1/2 T (7.5 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) coarse salt
- 2 T (27.5 g) unsalted butter, melted, or up to 3/4 T (12.5 g) more, if needed
To Make the Oat Cookie:
- Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
- Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Divide the egg yolk in half: Zero a bowl on a digital scale. Add whole egg yolk. Add half of the weight to the bowl.
- On low-speed, incorporate the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
- On low-speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; spray with cooking spray.
- Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and, with a spatula or rolling pin, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough will cover about half of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.
- Cool completely before using.
Note: Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To Make the Filling:
- Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended.
- Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low-speed until it is.
Note: The filling can be used right away, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To Complete the Pie:
- Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
- Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
- Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 7 to 12 g (1/2 to 3/4 T) butter and knead it in.
- Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, your fingers and/or the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into the pie dish, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Put the pie dish on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the filling in the pie crust; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full.
- Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
- Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pie in the oven during this process.
- When the oven reaches 325°F, close the door and bake the pie for 5 minutes longer. The pie should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pie in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
- Gently take the pie out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.)
- Then freeze the pie for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.
- Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.
Note: If not serving the pie right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, it will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, it will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.
**Note: It will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. The easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. You may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. If you do this by hand, you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. Remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs!
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