I was asked for a breakfast pie recipe. Hmmmm breakfast pie? Quiche would be easy but too predictable so I decided to go with sweet over savory.
We love oatmeal and eggs, don’t you? Cream works for breakfast, right? So my head went straight to a pie I’ve eaten many times in Washington D.C. over the past 4 years while visiting my son in college. It’s from Momofuku’s Milk Bar and it’s called “Crack Pie”. It took me a few times to get the recipe just right but it has been well worth the effort. If you follow these directions I’m sure you’ll get perfect pies the first time.
It’s called Crack pie for a reason. Oh my goodness it is crazy good. It might just change your thoughts on pie crust. Move over graham cracker crust, oat cookie crust is the king of crust now. The interior of the pie is a sweet gooey custard that condenses into the cookie crust creating a candy bar consistency with slight caramel flavor. Remember, it’s eggs and oatmeal, cream butter and sugar… that’s all part of a good breakfast right!?
Don’t be intimidated by the complexity of this recipe. At first glance there are several ingredients but the process is really pretty easy and the ingredients are simple. Most of them are probably already in your pantry.
There are three steps. First you make the oat cookie that will be used to make the crust. Then you make the filling. Finally you combine everything to make the pie.
You might note that this pie is best served cold so if you are serving it for breakfast you’ll want to make it the day before. It doesn’t last long in my house. As I write this there is only one piece left. It really is easy to make the parts ahead of time then it’s even easier to throw together. The hard part is waiting for it to get cold.
Milk Bar Crack Pie for Breakfast
This recipe makes two 9 or 10 inch pies.
Oat Cookie Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Oat Cookie Recipe:
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
- On a lower speed, add egg yolk to incorporate. Increase the speed back up to a medium high for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white color.
- On a lower speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 60-75 sec until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Your dough will still be a slightly fluffy, butter fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
- Pam spray and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Plop the oat cookie dough in the center of the pan and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4″ thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan, this is okay. Bake the oat cookie at 350F for 15 minutes.
Cool completely before using in the crack pie recipe.
Filling for Crack Pie
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 egg yolks
To make filling:
- In a microwave, gently melt the butter down in 15-second intervals. Make sure it is not hot to the touch.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed, mix together the dry ingredients until they are evenly distributed. If you try to mix the crack pie filling in on any higher than a low speed, you will incorporate too much air in the following steps and your pie will not be dense an gooey- the essence of the crack pie.
- Add the melted butter to the mixer and paddle until all the dry ingredients are moist.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until the white from the cream has completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the egg yolks to the mixer, paddling them in to the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe above)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe above)
- dusting of confectioner’s sugar
To make pie:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a microwave, gently melt your butter on a med/low setting for 15-30 seconds. Let it cool until it is not hot to the touch before proceeding.
- Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in the 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, simply crumble the cookie with your hands.)
- Transfer the cookie crumbs to a bowl and, with your hands, knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until the contents of the bowl are moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, gently melt and additional 15-25g of butter and knead it into the oat crust mixture. Divide the oat crust evenly over two 10″ pie tins
- Using your fingers and the palm of your hand, press the oat cookie crust firmly into both 10-inch pie shells. Make sure the bottom and the walls of the pie shells are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately or, wrapped well in plastic, store the pie shells at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Place both pie shells on a 1/2 sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts. The filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full. And bake at 350F for 20 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. Know your oven, which corners bake your cookies or pies lighter or darker and take these nooks into consideration when placing your pies in the oven-use the shelf and corners that brown your baked goods best.
- At 20 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325F Depending on your oven this will take 5-10 minutes-keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reads 325F, close the door and finish baking the crack pie for 5 minutes.
- At 5 minutes, the crack pie should still be jiggly in the bulls eye center, but not in the outer center circle. If the crack pie is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven an additional 5 minutes in the 325F oven. If they start to get too dark cover the tops loosely with foil or parchment while they finish baking.
- Gently take the half sheet pan of crack pies out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at 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. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product-the signature of a perfectly executed crack pie.
- Wrap the crack pies if you are not serving them right away. Before serving, decorate your pies with confectioners sugar through a fine sieve or the pinch of your fingers.
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About the Author
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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