Warning: this pie is dangerous. Like extreme sugar-high, kill-your-friend-over-the-last-piece dangerous.
Crack pie comes from the genius Christina Tosi, baker of the highly regarded Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. In her cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar, she claims that crack pie originated from a failed attempt at chess pie, an old Southern favorite. She accidentally underbaked the pie, threw it into a refrigerator in a rush to get to work, and it was discovered by some of the kitchen staff who went ga-ga over it. And thus was the creation of crack pie. Apparently these babies sell for $44 each.
As far as pie baking goes, crack pie takes some time and work, but is totally worth it. A salty, hearty oat cookie crust creates a perfect vehicle for the amazing gooey, butterscotch-y filling. The baked pies need to be frozen for at least three hours, which condenses the filling for a dense final product, and is the signature technique for perfect crack pie.
The recipe makes two pies, which is either awesome or horrible, depending on your level of self-control and desire to eat an entire pie by yourself. Either way, you’re going to be fighting for the last delicious piece. After a group of us finished off the pie, we immediately began scheming about the next possible reason to make more crack pie (so-and-so’s birthday, Thanksgiving, every Tuesday!).
Crack pie is completely addicting, gives you a high (and subsequent crash), and produces serious withdrawals when it is gone.
You’ve been warned.
Oat Cookie Crust:
1 stick plus 1/2 stick butter at room temperature, divided
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
Make Oat Cookie Crust:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 1 stick butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 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 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat. Spread the cookie dough onto the pan with a spatula until it is 1/4 inch thick.
Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Once the cookie is cooled, put cookie into a food processor with 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl. Melt 1/2 stick butter, and add to the crumbs. Knead the crumbs and butter together until moist enough to form into a ball.
Divide the oat crust evenly between 2 10-inch pie tins. Press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, evenly covering the bottom and sides.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk 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 blend for 2-3 minutes until all dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2-3 minutes until well blended. Add the egg yolks, mixing on low speed until mixture is combined and glossy.
Divide the filling between the two crusts. Bake for 15 minutes. The pies should be golden brown on top but still very jiggly. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. After 5 minutes, close oven door and bake the pies for 5-10 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly right in the center, but not around the edges.
Take the pies out of the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Then freeze pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Transfer the pies to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before serving. Serve pie cold!
Well-wrapped pies can be stored in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.