A few weeks back my trainer Nina told me about a friend of hers who quite a few months ago had arrived in L.A. She was an Australian girl who who decided to work in the United States. Los Angeles put her in quite a tailspin for a few reasons. Everyone was different in L.A. (even from the rest of America I suspect) and she found it difficult to fit in. She was a curvaceous girl and the plump pouted, surgically enhanced silicon bosoms and sinewy, tanned limbs that surrounded her made her feel as if she were an alien.
Certain that the sheer number of glossy, streaked, long limbed goddesses would mean that her love life would remain dormant, she was serendipitously mistaken when an actor (a very, very good looking actor I might add!) and she went out on a few dates. Things got heated up between the two of them and she went back to his house. The next morning she accidentally woke herself up how shall we say.... by doing a bottom burp. Her eyes sprang open and she looked at him. "I knew that he was awake! He just didn't want to say anything" she told Nina cringing at the memory. "Why? Why? Why?" she cried.
Allow me to present you with a pie that could be used to console anyone for any occasion. Called Crack Pie for a reason, it is the pie created by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. It was featured in this month's Daring Baker's challenge in which we were challenged to do one of four pies. I instantly went towards this one as I had always wanted to try it. It's ideal made a day or two ahead of time and the directions were straightforward and easy to follow. I did toy with the idea of adding chocolate or coconut, just because I always think adding both to a biscuitty cake which this seemed to be, would be a good thing but I thought that I'd try it as it was.
The end result is a very sweet pie-my first reaction was that it was extremely sweet and perhaps too sweet for me. And the texture was somewhat between a cookie and the toffee mix from a pecan pie except without the nuts although I absolutely loved the oatmeal cookie crust. I thought that this was best not straight out of the fridge but after being on the benchtop for a few hours. If I were to change it, I'd add coconut, nuts, aromatics or even chocolate and I'd tone down the sugar in it. The upside is that it is made with pretty much every day ingredients so it's a relatively inexpensive pie to make and has a lovely chewy toffee texture to it and there is a good amount of salt in it so that you get that appealing salted caramel flavour that is so popular nowadays.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like sweet pies or is your taste more towards the savoury? And what do you turn to doing or eating if you need consoling?
Blog-checking lines: 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!
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Momofuku's Crack Pie - Daring Bakers June 2013 Challenge
Preparation time: 20 + 20 minutes
Baking time: 18 + 50 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour + 2 hours, approx.
Chilling time: overnight
Oat Cookie Crust
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tbsp) (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125g) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided (6 & 3 tbsp; 85gm & 40gm)
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (85 ml)(2½ oz) (70 gm) (packed) light brown sugar, divided (4 & 1½ tbsp; 50 gm & 20 gm)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml) (80 gm) (2¾ oz) old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) (2½ oz) (70 gm) all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 gm) baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 gm) baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt
- <3/4 cup (160 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (packed) (120 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) (¼ oz) dry milk powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) (120mlk) (4 oz) (115gm) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
- 6 1/2 tablespoons (100ml) heavy whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Step 1 - Position rack in center of oven and preheat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Line a 13x9x2 inch/33x22x5cm metal baking pan with parchment (baking) paper. Lightly spray or butter a 9 inch/22cm diameter glass or ceramic pie dish.
Step 2 - Combine 6 tablespoons (85 gm) of the softened butter, 4 tablespoons (50 gm) of the brown sugar and the white sugar in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Step 3 - Add egg and beat until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Step 4 - Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
Step 5 - Dump oat mixture into prepared baking pan and press out evenly to edges of pan.
Step 6 - Bake until light golden, 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to wire rack and cool cookie completely, about an hour.
Step 7 - Using your fingertips, crumble the cookie a into large bowl - there should be no identifiable pieces of cookie remaining. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 gm) butter and 1-1/2 tablespoons (20 gm) brown sugar. Rub in with your fingertips until the mixture is moist and sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
Step 8 - Transfer cookie crust mixture to pie dish or I used a 25cm flan tin with a removable base. Using your fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish (about 1 inch/2.5cm up the sides if your pie dish is deep). If your pie dish is shallow, place it on a baking sheet in case of overflow.
Step 1 - Position rack in center of oven and preheat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. If possible, use bottom-only heat, or the filling may brown too quickly.
Step 2 - Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Step 3 - Add melted butter and whisk until blended.
Step 4 - Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended.
Step 5 - Pour filling into crust.
Step 6 - Bake 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble up). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3. Continue to bake until filling is brown on top and set around edges but center still jiggles slightly, about 20 minutes longer.
Step 7 - Cool pie completely in pie dish on wire rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
Step 8 - Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into thin wedges and serve cold.