Monday, April 30, 2012

Christina Tosi's Crack Pie & Awards

Pin It
Have you missed me?

It's been a while, but I am back (with an extra-long post). It has been a crazy few weeks, and I really thought that I might have to give up blogging somewhere in between. No hasty decisions were made, and for now, I am here to stay. :)

Today, I am back with a recipe that's really popular right now - Christina Tosi's Crack Pie. I wanted to see what all the hype was about, now, post-crack (not the drug kind - please be smart and don't do drugs!), I am here to share my experiences.
Before we get into the recipe though, I must issue the following warnings. IMHO, this pie must be made ONLY under the following circumstances -

1. You have a LOT of people coming over.
2. You have supernatural self-control.
3. You are desperately skinny and need to gain weight rapidly.

Seriously. I was warned, and I didn't listen, and ended up eating half this pie by myself (and sharing the remaining 50% very grudgingly).
In case I haven't made myself clear enough, I LOVED this pie, and I think Christina Tosi is a genius.

As you can see, I made only half the recipe - which makes 2  10-inch pies. I made 1 9 inch pie and increased the cooking time a little, as recommended by the L.A. Times.. I am so glad I decided to go with only half. Who knows how much I would have eaten if I had made the whole recipe!

Christina Tosi's Crack Pie
Recipe from the L.A. Times, who adapted it from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

Ingredients - Cookie for crust
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
A large pinch of baking powder
A large pinch of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1 1/4 oz (1/6  cup) light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 an egg
Scant 1/2 cup rolled oats

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In another bowl, beat the butter and the sugars until fluffy and light.
4. Whisk in the egg and mix well until completely incorporated.
5. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. 
5. Stir in the oats and stir to combine.
6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set. 
7. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.
Don't you love the giant cookie? I couldn't resist taking a small bite!

Making the Crust
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/8 cup butter
1 3/4 tsp brown sugar
A large pinch of salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until blended.
2. Press the crust into a 9 or 10 inch pie tin to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides. Set aside.

Ingredients - Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/6 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon milk powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup plus a scant tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
Prepared crust
Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350/180.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, salt and milk powder. 
3. Whisk in the melted butter, followed by the heavy cream and vanilla.
3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
4. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325/160 and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown on top (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes (15 minutes if you are using a 9-inch tin). Remove the pie and cool on a rack.
6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. 

It is a lot work, this pie, but SO worth it. The cookie crust needs to be made from the cookie recipe that is a part of this recipe, and not just any generic cookie. The amount of salt in the crust perfectly balances out the sweetness of the filling.
And the filling, - oh the filling - the filling is amazing. Buttery, creamy, butterscotch-y, sugary sweet brilliance.

Obviously, as the recipe says, it is meant to be served chilled. I tried it FOUR ways - it is lovely eaten slightly warm, it is great at room temperature, it is awesome chilled and it is fabulous frozen! In the picture below, you can see how ooey and gooey it is at room temperature.
At the end of this, here is my reasoning as to why this is called 'Crack Pie'.

1. I have not tried crack ever, but I am sure this pie is better.
2. It is addictive.
3. You are not willing to share it with ANYONE.
4. It gives you a high - a sugar high, that is!
5. You have withdrawal symptoms when the pie is all gone! :(
6. After the high, you have some serious lows.

I think my low lasted 2 weeks. Hence, the lack of posts.

I blame it on the pie & on Christina Tosi.

So there!

Here's my message for today - don't do drugs, make this pie!

Now, onto some important stuff that I have put off forever! Some awards :)

First up, a BIG (and very belated) thanks to Manu of Manu's Menu! If you haven't heard of Manu's blog, you seriously have been missing out! Please go visit her. Now!!!

Thanks to Manu for this award! Big hugs, Manu! <3

Second, thanks to Ruchira of The Great Cookaroo, for these two awards!

I met Ruchira through a Foodie Exchange just recently, and you will be seeing more of her on my blog soon, when I reveal what we exchanged! But in the meanwhile, go check out her site and do tell her I said hello!

Both bloggers asked me to share things about myself, and so here are some little known facts about The Harried Cook.

1. I was (emphasize WAS), a sportsperson - a swimmer to be more specific. I won a few medals here and there, represented my state and won a national medal too. Seems like ages ago, in another lifetime. I wrote it here today, just so I don't forget it myself.
2. I am a singer. I am in a band - though we're all very busy these days with kids and other stuff we're working on! But we do perform once in a while and have recorded on a few compilation albums too. I sing almost every week in church though.
3. I was a BIG nerd in school & college. Always did well in my exams. I still kinda like exams. Yes. You read right. Please don't un-like me on Facebook!
4. Before I became a mom, blogger and baker, I too was a stooge in the corporate world. Worked long hours, complained about my boss and all that jazz. That's one part of my life I don't miss!
5. I almost went to Paris to study cooking after I finished school. Long story, but it didn't happen, and things still worked out.

In other news, The Harried Cook is doing well. The baking workshop went very well, and was covered by a friend who is a very popular blogger in the city. You can read about the workshop and see some lovely pictures HERE.

The baking is going well! I've been making cupcakes, tarts, muffins, breads and a whole lot of stuff and it's been a blast! If you are in Chennai, and need to order something, write to me at

That's all from me for now, folks! Posting may not be very regular, but I am still around. Keep in touch!
Pin It


Manu said...

Thank you for the shout out Marsha!  PLEASE never stop blogging!!!!!!  I would miss you too much! <3
I love the pie... I know I would have the same problem sharing it... hahahaha
I loved reading more about you!  It is so great that you are a singer and sing in a band!  :-))))  What's it called???  Keep up the good work!

Deepa Tharien Jacob said...


And thanks for those little nuggets of insight into your life !

Lizzy Do said...

Wow, what fun to learn more about you! You are multi talented, my friend!!! I've made this crack pie...but it didn't look anything as good as yours...but it is yummy. Have a great day!!!

mandy said...

Marsha,you were NOT a big nerd..she was one of the cool, awesome singer type popular girls :-).. I can say so cos I was her junior :-)...btw marsha Im a big fan of ur blog and I've only started to bake up a storm after reading ur work..ur an inspiration :-)..gonna make ur pizza today..wish me luck..Amanda :-)

ping kay said...

You'd better not stop blogging. I will harass you and stalk you and haunt you ..... like I'm doing here now. Whoopsie ...
Wow, you're super talented all round! 
And I love the looks of this pie altho it does sound super sweet ... not too much into super sweet. Now why would I make a gorgeous giant cookie and crumble it all up again? I'd do the cookie first, eat that all by itself and then perhaps decide to make the pie next :) 
Haha! Sorry about all that. Just letting out some steam and stress over the past weeks :D 

mandy said...

Marsha,you were NOT a big nerd..she was one of the cool, awesome singer type popular girls :-).. I can say so cos I was her junior :-)...btw marsha Im a big fan of ur blog and I've only started to bake up a storm after reading ur work..ur an inspiration :-)..gonna make ur pizza today..wish me luck..Amanda :-)

Priya Sreeram said...

great to know a little more about you and glad to know that ur baking classes are going on fine ! nice recipe and looks well done !

mandy said...

Marsha,you were NOT a big nerd..she was one of the cool, awesome singer type popular girls :-).. I can say so cos I was her junior :-)...btw marsha Im a big fan of ur blog and I've only started to bake up a storm after reading ur work..ur an inspiration :-)..gonna make ur pizza today..wish me luck..Amanda :-) 

Carrie's Experimental Kitchen said...

Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself and this pie looks incredible! BTW, my girlfriend makes something we like to call "crack" too, it's ok, it's the only way to really explain how addictive it is! Looking forward to more of your posts. 

Baker Street said...

Congratulations on all those awards! Your pie looks incredible. 

Galexicupcakes said...

So glad to see a post from you..You've become a special friend to me through this world of blogging. I love to read about your recipes, your little girl and your restaurant critiques even if we are half way across the world from each other. Keep the posts coming! xo Jackie

Monetm1218 said...

Honey! Could this look any better? I can see why it is called Crack pie. I'm sorry I've been absent around here. I've been so busy with end of semester work. I hope you are doing well. As always, I'm so happy to visit your beautiful blog. Thank you again for sharing this piece of deliciousness!

Mary said...

I do not qualify to eat this pie!! but I think I might try it anyway - SOOOOOOO delicious!
Mary x

Tara said...

Oh Marsha!  You could never stop blogging!  You have been inspiration for me in so many ways.  Your amazing writing and your sublime cooking!  I couldn't imagine not reading your posts.  Having said that, I understand how difficult it can be to post regularly.  Just so long as we get to see your posts every so often I will be satisfied. :0)  You are an amazing woman!

Manu said...

Ahhhh Marsha,  you've got something else from me here... <3 <3

Georgia The Comfort of Cooking said...

Oooh, this looks incredibly yummy! What a fabulous pie. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

this looks so interesting! I love the crust. Yes- definitely addicting to say the least

Gurgaonflowerplaza said...

Liked the post

The Café Sucré Farine said...

I haven't heard of this but it certainly sounds amazing .......... and dangerous! Happy baking - glad to hear it's going so well!

Roxana GreenGirl said...

if I take your advice I doubt I will ever make this pie
1. I don't need to gain any weight
2. I don't have self-control
3. Even if I have lots of friends coming over, I'm selfish by nature so I doubt I share the pie with them

I think I'll just have to forget about your advice.
Congrats on the success of the baking classes. To many more!

Kimby said...

So glad to read about your special recognition -- congratulations on your awards!  Also glad to find the recipe for this decadent pie... two pies... (and that's half the recipe?!) -- I may have to make 1/4..... so tempting!!!  Again, way to go on being hailed for your blog -- yippee!!!

Casey Shea said...

I used to work at Milk Bar. Tosi is an absolute GENIUS and the most amazing person ever. I have eaten basically everything on the menu, and although crack pie is one of my top 3 things there....I have to say that for me, you've got to eat it with cereal milk ice cream :] give it a try. its amazing!

Rash said...

Very different... Tasty...

Post a Comment

Real Time Web Analytics