Don't Be Afraid...

... To do things differently. One of my favorite places in NYC is Momofuku. They have two items on their menu that are almost to die for! One is CRACK PIE and the other one is COMPOST COOKIES.  I am so happy they were unafraid to do things differently and make these items for consumption.

I have never attempted to make either one of these, easier to salivate between my visits to NYC every couple of years, (OR hint, hint, you can purchase ready made mix on line or in one of their stores and bake to your hearts delight) however, Momofuku has been so kind as to provide the recipes so just in case you wish to try this at home, go for it! Let me know how it turns out!  xo, jan

crack pie®

makes 2 (10-inch) pies; each serves 8 to 10

this recipe makes two pies (two pies are always better than one), but you can always keep the second pie frozen if need be!

1 recipe oat cookie (recipe follows)

15 g (1 tbs tightly packed) light brown sugar

1 g (1/4 tsp) salt

55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed

1 recipe crack pie® filling (recipe follows)

confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a 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, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)

3. transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and knead it in.

4. divide the oat crust evenly between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

5. put both pie shells on a sheet pan. divide the crack pie® filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full. bake for 15 minutes only. the pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.

6. open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°f. depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. keep the pies in the oven during this process. when the oven reaches 325°f, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. if the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional

5 minutes or so.

7. gently take the pan of crack pies® out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to 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.) then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.

8. if not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. in the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. transfer the pie(s) from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of

1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.

9. serve your crack pie® cold! decorate your pie(s) with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

oat cookie recipe

makes about 1 quarter sheet pan

115 g (8 tbs) butter, at room temperature

75 g (1/3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar

40 g (3 tbs) granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

80 g (1/2 cup) flour

120 g (1 1/2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats

0.5 g (1/8 tsp) baking powder

0.25 g (pinch) baking soda

2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt

pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 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 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

3. on low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. the dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan and, with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. the dough won’t end up covering the entire pan; this is ok.

5. bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. cool completely before using. wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

crack pie® filling

makes enough for 2 (10-inch) crack pies®

you must use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make this filling. it only takes a minute, but it makes all the difference in the homogenization and smooth, silky final product. i repeat: a hand whisk and a bowl or a granny hand mixer will not produce the same results. also, keep the mixer on low speed through the entire mixing process. if you try to mix the filling on higher speed, you will incorporate too

much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey-the essence of crack pie®.

300 g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

180 g (3/4 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar

20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder

24 g (1/4 cup) corn powder

6 g (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt

225 g (16 tbs) butter, melted

160 g (3/4 cup) heavy cream

2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

8 egg yolks**

1. combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.

2. add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.

3. add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

4. add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. mix on low speed until it is.

5. use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

**note: it will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. i believe the easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. you may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. if you do this by hand,you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs! save your egg whites for peanut butter nougat or pistachio cake, or cook them up for your doggies, for a shinier coat.

compost cookies®

makes 15 to 20 cookies

when i was a baker at a conference center on star island, twelve miles off the coast of new hampshire, i learned to make this kind of cookie from one of the best bakers i know, mandy lamb. she would put different ingredients in the cookie each day or each week and have people try and guess what the random secret ingredients were. because we were on an island in new england, when storms blew in, we were trapped. no one traveled to the island, and, more important, no boats with food on them came our way, either. we had to get creative and use what we had on hand. we might not have had enough chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies, but if we threw in other mix-ins as well, the seven hundred some guests would never notice the shortage of one ingredient—and the cookies would always feel brand new, because they were different every time. i found after many batches that my favorite compost cookies® had my favorite snacks in them: chocolate and butterscotch chips, potato chips, pretzels, graham crackers, and coffee (grounds).

compost cookies® always turn out great in my mother’s kitchen because she infamously has a hodgepodge of mix-ins, none in great enough quantity to make an actual single-flavored cookie on its own. my brother-in-law calls them “garbage cookies”; others call them “kitchen sink cookies.” call them what you want, and make them as we make them at milk bar, or add your own favorite snacks to the cookie base in place of ours.

225 g (16 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar

150 g (2⁄3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar

50 g (2 tbs) glucose

1 egg

2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

225 g (1 1⁄3 cups) flour

2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder

1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda

4 g (1 tsp) kosher salt

150 g (3/4 cup) mini chocolate chips

100 g (1/2 cup) mini butterscotch chips

1/4 recipe (1/2 cup) graham crust (recipe below)

40 g (1⁄3 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats

5 g (2 1/2 tsp) ground coffee

50 g (2 cups) potato chips

50 g (1 cup) mini pretzels

1. combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (see page 27 for notes on this process.)

2. reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk over mixing the dough.) scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. you deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.

4. using a 2 3/4 oz ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. do not bake your cookies from room temperature— they will not bake properly.

5. heat the oven to 375°f.

6. arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pans. bake for 18 minutes. the cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. after 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.

7. cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. at room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

in a pinch, substitute 18 g (1 tablespoon) corn syrup for the glucose. for the “coffee grounds” in this cookie, we tested the recipe with freshly roasted and ground artisanal coffee from stumptown as well as with crap-tastic coffee grounds that you can find just about anywhere. we discovered that it doesn’t make a difference what kind you use; the cookie is delicious every time. just make sure you don’t use instant coffee; it will dissolve in the baking process and ruin the cookies. and, above all else, never use wet, sogalicious grounds that have already brewed a pot of coffee. we use cape cod potato chips because they aren’t paper-thin, and so they do not break down too much in the mixing process.

Jan McCarthyComment