There are few desserts that are as infamous as Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar crack pie. The small Milk Bar bakery is known for its delicious compost cookies, cereal milk soft serve ice cream, and this magnificent pie. Even Anderson Cooper loves this pie (start at around 3:50), so you know it’s the real deal.
This recipe is based off of a classic chess pie, which is a dessert that could be made in a pinch with common pantry ingredients. It has a crispy crust and a chewy gooey filling that’s hard to resist. Ms. Tosi’s version is a little more complicated…her recipe creates an oat cookie that then crumbles into a crust and filled. She also calls for corn powder (not corn flour, which yes is different and no cannot be substituted) which isn’t that common.
Luckily, Epicurious tweaked things a little to avoid the corn flour and I outright refused to buy a bag of milk powder just to use a tablespoon, so I swapped it out for real milk. The final product is just as good.
What to expect? A crumbly crust with a thin filling that’s firm on top and gooey in the center. This recipe makes 12 servings, and that may seem like small pieces but this is super sweet (in the best of ways) and a little piece will be just perfect.
oat cookie crust:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed and divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and let to cool slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, enough for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a stand mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and beat again until pale and fluffy. Add the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat again until well combined and there are no dry lumps. It should be slightly softer and fluffier than a cookie dough. Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray with cooking oil. Turn the oat mixture out on to the pan and spread out so it takes up about 1/4 of the pan. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown across the top, similar to a cookie. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Break the oat cookie into pieces and place it in a food processor with the brown sugar and salt. Pulse until it breaks down and resembles wet sand. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 tablespoons melted butter and knead with your hands until holds together when squeezed in your hand. If you need to, add slightly more melted butter. Transfer cookie mixture to a pie dish and use your fingers to press it evenly into the pie pan and up the sides.
For the filling, combine the white and brown sugars in a stand mixer and whisk together until combined. Add the milk, salt, and melted butter and whisk again until well mixed. Add the cream, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk just until combined, making sure not to over-whisk. Pour the filling into the crust. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven heated to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue to bake until the filling is brown in spots and set around edges but the center still moves slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 20 more minutes. Cool for at least 2 hours or overnight. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.