Tag Archives: NYC

Momofuku Milk Bar

After months – nay, years – of wishing and hoping I’d get to go to this New York City hidden gem, it happened. My friend and I had a few free hours at the end of a NYC work trip, so I made her promise to accompany me to the East Village for some crack pie at Momofuku Milk Bar.

Momofuku is ridiculously hard to find. The cab driver was like, “You’re looking for a restaurant? This address is a neighborhood.” Then we arrived (indeed, in a neighborhood) and there was no sign – just the number on the door.

Then, we had to walk down this discreet passageway beside the dining room before we got to our goal: the milk bar. I don’t know much about milk bars – except to say that they sell really good milk. The whole idea confuses me. Here are some reasons why:

  • Their milkshakes have alcohol in them. What kind? How much? How does it taste? These are questions for my next visit.
  • Their milk is flavored. With things like “pumpkin pie” and “cereal.”
  • The cute girl behind the bar said to not mind any lumps in the milk, as that is just the whole-milk solids or something.
  • They have black sesame croissants. (this is just cool)
  • They sell Stumptown coffee!!! (Yay Oregon!)

Our “lunch” consisted of one cereal and one strawberry milk, the notorious “compost cookie” and the legendary crack pie.

First, on the milk. OMG. Mine was strawberry, and it tasted like a smooth, cool strawberry milkshake. But better.

Next, the compost cookie. Here are just some of the ingredients: chocolate, butterscotch, coffee grounds, peanuts, oats, pretzels, POTATO CHIPS. Okay, Momofuku has mastered the salty-and-sweet technique. The cookie tasted like, well, the best cookie I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to bring home more.

Finally, the crack pie. As you’ll remember, when I made it, it was yummy, but had issues. The pie was super sticky on the bottom and the texture seemed a bit off. I know these things because Momofuku’s crack pie corrected all these problems. The crust was homogeneous in texture and perfectly contained the custard. However, it tasted the same as mine. Mostly. I think the crusts were the most different – mine maybe needed to be more finely crumbled. Observe:

Momofuku's crack pie

My crack pie

Crack pie is something I hope you all can experience in your life. As is this weird thing called a milk bar and the difficult-to-pronounce Momofuku.

xoxo

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Crack pie

Crack pie was made famous by the likes of Kelly Ripa, Anderson Cooper and The Los Angeles Times, which wrote about the Momofuku Milk Bar confection that retails for $44 in New York City. Ever since I read the story, I became obsessed. Then, Bon Appetit printed the recipe and I fainted.

From what I can tell, crack pie is basically a chess pie with a cookie crust. Chess pie was another confection new to me when I moved to The South. The super-sweet pie is a basic custard sweetened with sugar, vanilla and often includes cornmeal. Crack pie has a similar custard that includes cream and powdered milk (?), but the crust is the key: made out of a giant oatmeal cookie that you crumble and press with butter and more sugar, it gives the pie a salty crumb to mingle with the gooey insides.

I think what makes it addictive is that saltiness. Something about salt, especially when matched with sugar, makes people lose all control.

Before I post the recipe, let’s get something very straight. This pie is rather unattractive. It’s one of those pies that you have to serve with the disclaimer, “But it tastes really good!” or “It cost me $45!”

My most foodiest friend Jeb made this pie recently in his Portland, Ore. home. When I texted him to say the custard had a rather blah, brownish color, he replied, “I dare you to name a more ugly dessert.” Luckily, a dusting of powdered sugar helps disguise that.

And then I had problems with how ooey-gooey it was, making it nearly impossible to cut out a clean slice. Jeb, who is no novice in the kitchen, made me feel better, saying his turned out the same. Perhaps creator Christina Tosi left something out of the recipe so no one could quite copy it? I’ll have to investigate next time I’m in NYC (December!).

From Bon Appetit, I give you…

Crack Pie

Ingredients:

Oat cookie crust –

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 9 T unsalted butter at room temp
  • 5 1/2 T golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c. plus 2 T old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling –

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 1 T nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 6 1/2 T heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar

(Note: crust can easily be made the day before, which I recommend. Also note that the pie must cool overnight in the fridge before serving.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan (mine was spotty and uneven, but it cooks great). Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes (it will still be soft in the middle). Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using your hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish as evenly as possible. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

Now, for the filling.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

A face only a mother could love

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.
If you’ve made this, please let me know how you liked it. I enjoyed it, although it is sweet enough to give you tooth decay on the spot.
Don’t get addicted, friends! xoxo