I heard about Crack Pie so much over the last decade, and finally got to taste a version of it a few years ago. It was at Cafe 48, a restaurant in Tel Aviv that made its own version to Christina Tosi’s legendary dessert. I remember how Nimrod and I sat at the bar, ordered the pie after dinner; after I talked so much about how this pie should be the best from what I heard up until then. Actually, this pie got its name simply because it’s addictive like crack (yes!); and then it landed on our table.
The pie was insanity-sweet, rich, buttery, and certainly tasty though quite heavy. I could stop after 2-3 bites, Nimrod couldn’t really eat any more than that too, and that was my first experience of this legendary pie. Since then, I’ve never stopped hearing about crack pie from all around; including quite a few requests over the years from readers, asking me for a recipe that will also appear here on the blog. So even though it’s not the ultimate pie for me, it’s a bit too heavy and buttery if you ask me; but I can certainly understand why people love it so much.
So, what is Crack Pie?
Crack pie was invented by the talented confectioner and pastry chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. Since it was invented it has become one of the most popular desserts in the world probably. Crack Pie is made of an oatmeal cookie crust filled with rich buttery pudding made mostly out of sugar, butter, cream and egg yolks. After baking it receives a golden top that is especially attractive and tempting. Serve the pie with a big dollop of creme fraiche that balanced its sweetness, but it is also delicious on its own.
The original recipe contains significant amounts of butter, sugar and cream, including a “special” ingredient – a tablespoon of powdered milk. After I made the recipe in its original version, I decided to make quite a few changes to make it a little easier and lighter. I significantly reduced the amount of sugar and butter, gave up the milk powder, and got a delicious, rich and decadent crack pie.
Based on the original recipe of Christina Tosi with my changes and adjustments
For the oatmeal cookie:
- 75 grams soft butter
- 60 grams of light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 75 grams of whole oatmeal
- 70 grams of all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
For the crust:
- 50 grams melted butter
For the filling:
- 100 grams of sugar
- 100 grams dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 100 grams melted butter
- 80 ml. whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For decoration and serving:
- Sugar powder
- Creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 170c degrees and place baking paper on a baking pan.
- In a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment, put butter, sugar and salt and mix at high speed until a uniform creamy mixture is obtained.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl using a spatula and add the egg. Mix until incorporated.
- Add oatmeal, flour and baking powder, and mix until uniform chunks of dough are formed.
- Transfer the dough into the pan and spread to a relatively thin layer. There is no need to create a particular shape because after baking the cookie is crumbled.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookie turns golden and sets.
- Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate for another hour or so in the refrigerator for stabilization.
Prepare the crust:
- Crumble the cookie into very thin crumbs. You can also grind it in a food processor if you want a more uniform texture.
- Place the crumbs in a bowl and add melted butter. Mix well until you get a damp mixture.
- Transfer the crumbs to the base and sides of the pan and press it tightly to form a crust.
- Keep the crust in the freezer until preparing the filling.
Filling and baking:
- In a medium bowl, put sugar, brown sugar, salt, melted butter, cream, egg yolks and vanilla, and mix well until combined. You don’t need to whip this mixture.
- Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
- Pour the filling over the cold crust and bake the pie for about 30 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 150c degrees and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the filling sets at the edges but is still slightly vibrating in the center and is very golden brown.
- Cool completely at room temperature and keep refrigerated until serving.
- Sprinkle the top of the pie with powdered sugar.
- Serve with some creme fraiche.
- The pie is kept in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. It is recommended to serve at room temperature.
- It is very important not to omit the salt in the crust nor in the filling, because it balances the sweetness.
- Instead of making an oatmeal cookie, you can alternatively grind 100 grams of biscuits + 100 grams of oatmeal and mix with 100 grams of melted butter to form a crust.