Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie Recipe

I’ve never tried crack before, but after having this pie, I don’t feel I ever need to.

Feelings of euphoria? Check.
Supreme confidence? I can eat a whole pie! Check.
Paranoia? Somebody’s been eating MY pie! Check.
Loss of appetite? After eating a whole pie? Check.
A craving for more? Check.

Oh boy, is there a craving for more. Seriously, this pie is insanely addictive. An oatmeal cookie crust and a sweet, gooey, butterscotch-y filling combine to create a delicious bubbling mess of salty-sweet goodness. When it cools, you’ll have to fight for your share. Or you can grab the pie plate, turn your back and crouch in the corner, stuffing your face like a feral cat. A feral cat that uses a fork, of course.

Don’t worry, that didn’t happen. I thought about it though. Damn those feelings of paranoia, they make you want the pie all for yourself!

The smell of the pie baking is pleasantly sweet, but it doesn’t drive you into a frenzy the way that first bite will. You’ll never forget that first bite: it’s euphoric. You’ll feel like your hands can’t put pie into your mouth fast enough. After the first few mindless, breathless moments of all-consuming-pie-eating, I regretted halving the recipe to make just one pie.

Don’t make my mistake: make two pies. You’ll eat both of them. Or, you’ll have a guaranteed way to make some new friends if you somehow manage to resist the second pie. It’s a very irresistible pie; I consumed half of one myself.

Hours later with Crack Pie just a fuzzy memory, I was feeling slow, lethargic, and depressed. It was a gorgeous day outside, but the sunshine did nothing to cheer me up. I didn’t get it, but then, in a flash of brilliance, I realized: I was coming down from my crack pie high. Be warned, Crack Pie causes withdrawal symptoms.

I’ve now made Crack Pie three times, in three different incarnations: Crack Tart, Crack Pie Pops, and good old fashioned Crack Pie. I didn’t get any photos of the good old fashioned pie, we devoured it before photos could be taken.

Mike: Did you know Crack Pie is $44 a bite?
Me: No it isn’t! Did you know some guy ordered one online and dropped on the ground in his lobby and then ate it?
Mike: What?
Me: He dropped it so he called his roommate to bring two forks down and they ate it off the floor. $44 a bite?
Mike: $44 a PIE, not a bite.
Me: Oh.

For all of you who don’t live in NYC and don’t want to buy a $44 pie, here’s the Crack Pie recipe from the LA Times. The recipe makes two 10 inch pies.

Crack Pie Recipe

Oatmeal Cookie for Crust

Ingredients
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup rolled oats

Directions
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
5. Stir in the flour mixture until fully combined. Stir in the oats.
6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Crust

Ingredients
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk powder
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks

2 prepared crusts

Powdered sugar to garnish

Directions
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.
3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.
5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.
6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. Serve cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Note: I liked it best at room temperature.

138 Comments add yours

  1. I’ve heard such amazing things about this pie, but was hesitant to try it. I guess because I’m used to my pies having a distinct filling (apples, cherries, chocolate.) This one just seems like its missing that “key” ingredient. But I guess since everyone has been going crazy over it, I should just try it.

    Are you going to try making the marshmallow, cornflake, chocolate chip cookies? I stumbled upon that milk bar recipe online.

    Jennifer, the key ingredient is crack. Maybe just think of this pie as a giant 10″ cookie. Either way, you should try it!

    steph on February 27th, 2010 at 12:35 pm
  2. I’ve only recently been hearing about this pie, and wasn’t sure I’d want to try it, only because I wasn’t sure what the “secret” ingredient was. I was certain it was not crack, though the price made me wonder.

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m sure I’ll surprise some Germans in the next few months with this deliciousness.

    And the re-design looks great!

    Daniel,
    If you supply the Germans with Crack Pie, you might just create some new addicts! Let me know how your pie goes!

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I think the “secret” ingredient might be milk powder because of this article: http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/52411/index1.html. The chef stated that milk powder is her favorite ingredient and that the bakery uses it in a lot of their baked goods. I don’t know for sure but it is my theory.

    Kat on July 16th, 2010 at 10:19 pm
  3. I’ve tried this before, my friend made it and it is sensational. I don’t think she used the LA times recipe though, but it tasted awesome. Perfect with a coffee, it’s pretty damn sweet.

    Howard,
    I think all the crack pie recipes out there end up making something that’s just plain addictive, with coffee or without! I thought it would be too sweet, but somehow it ended up just right.

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:41 pm
  4. Haha, great pictures of the crack pie pops! Initially I thought Mike had taken a little bite out of all of them!

    @thespoon,
    Hahaha, I wouldn’t put it past Mike to take a bite out of each one! It was funny because when the pops came out of the oven, they were all nice and over-flowing, but after they cooled down a bit, they did some major sinking. Tasted good, but really, the tart was the best tasting one of the bunch.

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:43 pm
  5. wow this looks ridiculously amazing!! going to the top of my must make recipe list!

    Iga,
    It’s definitely a keeper; Mike keeps telling me that he wants more crack pie. Let me know if you like it!

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:45 pm
  6. I have tried this exact recipe in the past. All it produced was a melted butter pie (nasty). It didn’t set at all and why would it, it doesn’t have a binder.

    Since then I read Chef Tosi uses corn flour to bind the pie.

    Keith,
    My pie did look like an oozing pile of melted butter at first, but after it cooled down it solidified into a gooey, yet solid delicious pie. If you end up using corn flour, let me know how it goes for you.

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Here is the article I saw mentioning the corn flour. I have had it at the Milk Bar and it is so good.

    http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/52411/

    keithjam on March 1st, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    The stabilizing agent (binder) in this recipe is the eggs, the heat coagulates them and that should bind everything together, its possible you may have mis-scaled or since its a home bakers recipe ie: using measuring cups instead of by weight, things could be a touch off. most likely the heavy cream. But in any case, try altering and see what happens. :D

    BakerJoe on June 6th, 2011 at 1:04 pm
  7. Well, now I have no choice but to make this and then subsequently devour the whole thing!!

    Shelly,
    I won’t judge you if you eat the whole thing, I was tempted to do it myself!

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:47 pm
  8. I made this a couple weeks ago when I saw it in the LA Times. It was definitely TOO sweet. I don’t understand the fascination.

    Joules,
    I thought the pie would be too sweet too, but I found it to be that salty-sweet flavour you get from sea salt caramels or fleur de sel chocolates. In fact, I did use fleur de sel instead of salt, so that might have made a difference.

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I agree…definitely too sweet..tasted more like candy. I can see why it’s crack for a lot of people – but probably forgettable for dessert connoisseurs.

    sawhster on November 20th, 2010 at 4:19 pm
  9. Holy moly… now you’ve done it. You are the 4th person in the last 3 days that has mentioned crack pie. This has to be a sign.

    Dan,
    I still remember your comment about your arteries hardening when you eat crack pie!

    If you’ve read about it 4 times in 3 days, I think it is a sign that you need to harden your arteries this week!

    steph on March 1st, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Isn’t that funny when things like that happen? It just happened to me with cheesecake! Hope you enjoy it I just may try it!

    Judy on March 3rd, 2010 at 2:22 pm
  10. Thanks for the recipe! I must must must make this real soon! It’s definitely my next project.

    Ellie,
    Just don’t blame me if you become addicted!
    :P

    steph on March 2nd, 2010 at 2:54 am
  11. Im kinda annoyed I never tried this when I was in NYC last year now it looks so good, but I bookmarked the recipe when I saw it but you’ve convinced me to make it sooner rather than later. I hope they release a Milk Bar cookbook as I was a little disappointed there were so few sweet recipes in the book even though I love the recipes ive tried so far.

    Ive just been reading back through some of your previous posts and saw the one about the Milk Bar Cookbook which makes me one very happy baker.

    Ed,
    It’s exciting isn’t it! I can’t wait!

    steph on March 2nd, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    Edd on March 2nd, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Ed,
    They are releasing a Milk Bar Cookbook! It’s slated for Fall 2011 and I’m pretty excited because I have a major sweet tooth!

    steph on March 2nd, 2010 at 1:08 pm
  12. I made it from the NY Times recipe, and it turned out really well. With the 2 pies, I left one in the oven a little longer because the filling seemed a little too jiggly, but the one I took out on time turned out a bit better (don’t worry, they were both delicious). I would make just the oatmeal cookie crust and eat it by itself, I think.

    Stacy,
    I confess: I actually did eat some of the oatmeal cookie crust by itself. It was good!

    steph on March 2nd, 2010 at 1:12 pm
  13. just put two of these in the fridge and can’t wait for them to firm up so i can try them. couple of questions: i used the full recipe but with 10″ pie tins the mixture didn’t come very far up the side; both my pies were very loose and runny when they finished the specified cooking time – any thoughts?

    John, The pies are not very deep, so don’t worry about the filling not coming up high enough; they’re a pretty thin pie. As for the looseness of the pies, they should firm up in the fridge a bit. When I took mine out they were bubbling and breathing like they were alive so don’t worry about it. Let me know how they taste!

    do you have another email address i can use. i have an interesting update on crack but it’s a long msg and probably not that much fun for everyone on the list

    John Davis on March 6th, 2010 at 12:58 pm
    steph on March 2nd, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    John Davis on March 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm
  14. Hi – I just made this last night and they came out great, although I want to tweak a bit – can you confirm for me that milk powder is just dried milk?

    Lisa,
    Milk powder is just instant dried milk power.

    steph on March 7th, 2010 at 1:40 pm
  15. Hi – I made this last night but want to be sure – is “milk powder” just basic dried milk? And do you use non-fat or whole-fat etc?

  16. Hm. I tried this last time I was in NYC, and it tasted suspiciously like something we know here in Saint Louis as Gooey Butter Cake. I believe we use cream cheese instead of powdered milk/cream, and the bottom varies by bakery here (some use cake, some use a yeasty, bread thing). Though I prefer crack pie, I will eat every last bite of any incarnation of gooey buttery crack-y cake-y pie-y thing that is placed in front of me!

    Dave,
    I’ll have to try this St. Louis Goeey Butter Cake. I imagine the filling with a cake base would be delicious!

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    So funny… I read the recipe and thought, “It’s just gooey butter cake with oatmeal~” Sounds delicious, though, and I’ll have to try it out. Love me some St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake!

    Leneia on June 5th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
  17. I am interesting in trying the little tarts. Did you adjust the timing in the oven for them?

    Helen,
    I did adjust the time, I baked it for about 5 minutes at the first temperature 350, then for about another 5 at 325. Keep a close eye on them. They’ll puff up while their in the oven and then deflate, so don’t worry about the sunken filling!

    steph on March 16th, 2010 at 12:01 pm
  18. Hi, I’m going to make this for our St. Patrick’s Day potluck tomorrow, and I’m a little intimidated. Besides using the fleur de sel and adjusting the baking time, any other tips? I only have 9 inch baking pans. And I don’t think I will be going to get fleur de sel. Your pictures look amazing. I had heard that it’s better to cream the butter and sugars together first before adding any other dry ingredients.

    Hi Sandy,

    Make sure you cool the melted butter for a bit before you add the sugars. That way, when you add the egg yolks, you won’t accidentally cook them. Be gentle when mixing in the yolks, you don’t want to add any air at that time. Also, when the pies come out, they’re super bubbly and almost overflowing, but as they cool the filling sinks. Since you’re using 9 inch pans, add about 5 minutes of baking time, but make sure you keep an eye on it, you want the filling to be jiggly.

    Hope your pies turn out great!

    steph on March 16th, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  19. Well, I’m trying the crack pie here at our potluck, and now I see what all the hype is about. It is so good! Thanks for inspiring me to be a careful baker with your pictures. I baked it at 375 for 10 minutes and ended up baking it at 325 for about 35 minutes after that b/c it refused to turn brown until then. My second pie I baked at 375 for 20 min but then it was starting to get too brown on top so I had to take it out. I have a feeling it’s probably underdone on the inside, but I’ll try that one at home later. This really is addictive!

    I’m so happy you’re addicted and your crack pies turned out!

    steph on March 17th, 2010 at 1:37 pm
  20. Wow, this look insanely delicious! I really like the idea with the crack pie pops, would be perfect for a picnic. Will definitely have a go at this recipe.

    Thanks! They were insanely delicious. Tip on the crack pie pops though: they’re super fragile, so on a picnic crack pie tarts might be the way to go!

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 11:39 pm
  21. I made this recipe yesterday, I didn’t have milk powder but I used 2 tablespoons of corn starch which I figured should be enough to stabilize the filling. I ended up with a hard sugar crunch surface on the pie, but inside the filling was like syrup, it just flowed out as I cut the pie. The taste was good but much too sweet for my taste. I really liked the crust though. I think I will try using that as crust for cheesecakes in the future.

    A tip for people making this: don’t pour the filling in the second pan until you have baked the first pie. The filling will start to separate if you let it sit. Keep the second half of the filling in the bowl and mix it good before you pour it into the second pan.

    That’s too bad that the filling didn’t firm up! It is a sweet pie and not for the faint of heart!

    steph on April 28th, 2010 at 12:41 pm
  22. Hello Foodies

    I just LOVE this Site!
    this recipe Looks Heavenly
    I have Celiac Disease
    But Iam Quite Sure that I
    can make it Gluten Free

    I hope you can make it gluten free!

    steph on May 18th, 2010 at 11:18 am
    Catherinevk on May 18, 2010 at 6:19 am
  23. Do you think there is any kind of milk powder substitute in this recipe? huh? (cause where I live it is impossible to get a real milk powder, only soy milk powder. Would this work?) If to try condensed milk? How much of it shoud I take?

    I’m not too sure what to use as a milk powder substitute. You could try the soy milk powder, but I wouldn’t use condensed milk.

    steph on May 27th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Use dry milk and freeze what you don’t use. However, I can’t imagine having a lot left over after you make the first pie because then you will continue to make this until you’ve used up the milk.

    Linda Sanders on May 27th, 2011 at 10:57 am
  24. Thanks so much. Sugar gives me zits and I’m 34, and now I have to make and eat this :)

  25. Would I be a bad person if I added bittersweet chocolate to this? Or would that just simply kill anyone who tasted it?

    Someone once told me they made a chocolate ganache to pour over the whole pie. They emailed me again after that, so I assume they didn’t die!

    Might be a bit over the top, but if you love chocolate, go for it!

    steph on July 12th, 2010 at 11:33 am
  26. I tend to believe that everyhing can be improved by a little chocolate. Thanks!

  27. Holy cow, I just made this and it is absolutely fantastic. I had never heard of it before. My husband and I had it with coffee, and now I wish I’d followed your advice and made 2. I can’t wait to try more from your blog! Thank you for sharing!!!

  28. How did you make the little pie pops? They are so darn cute and perfect for a crowd! :)

    Steph,
    The little pie pops were cute, but they didn’t hold up very well, due to the gooey nature of crack pie. If you want to give it a go, just make the pies in mini muffin tins lined with tin foil and then pop a lollipop stick in them after they’ve cooled down.

    steph on November 9th, 2010 at 11:03 am
  29. We used your blog to make our own crack pies this weekend — they were fantastic. We ended up spooning them into little ramekins and serving with vanilla ice cream on top! See my blog post here: http://thelovelist.net/2010/10/scenes-from-supper-club.html

    Thanks for posting this!

    (sorry, the previous comment I posted had the wrong link in it!)

  30. Please, HELP! Any substitute for the milk powder? They sell it only in 1lb quantities, and I don’t want that amount to sit in storage. If substitute, how and when to add it?

    I’m thinking dry non-dairy creamer? That’s the closest to powdered milk I can think of. Or maybe Ovaltine’s malt/vanilla favor?

    You will want to use the actual milk powder…
    Ovaltine is not milk.
    Plus there are other things you will or can use this for later down the line, like the blueberry and cream cookies which are really good too.

    Mike on November 2nd, 2010 at 3:07 am
    Vivian on October 30th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I think Vivian’s suggestion of non-dairy creamer is a good one!

    Non-dairy creamer is not a milk product (Hello! It’s NON-DAIRY). Non-dairy creamer is just processed sugar and filler. You should be able to find a product like Carnation instant milk in a box or something like it on the supermarket shelf.

    CeLo on June 6th, 2011 at 10:40 pm
    steph on November 9th, 2010 at 11:10 am
  31. Love your blog. Your anecdotes are so amusing and they inspire me to try out the recipes. Keep up the great content.

    Just wondering if you’ve had any problems with the crust on the crack pie overbrowning when you bake it in the oven the second time?

    Not too much of the crust is exposed during the second baking, so I didn’t have a problem, but if you find yours is browning too much, just cover the edges with a bit of foil to stop it from browning.

    steph on November 9th, 2010 at 11:12 am
  32. Can you tell me for the rolled oats do you use the “quick” or original oats? Making pies for Thanksgiving-can’t wait to try them-Yum.
    Thanks

    They’re quick oats!

    steph on December 20th, 2010 at 6:37 pm
  33. Sounds alot like a southern chess pie but with a oatmeal crust.Still sounds yummy.

    Yes! Tasted very much like chess pie I had at Puckett’s in Franklin, Tennessee! I have never made or baked a pie in my life, but am going to try making Crack Pie….I need it….must have it….

    Bill on December 21st, 2010 at 9:25 pm
  34. Please make changes to your filling recipe. I think it might be a typo but your 1 cup of butter should be 1/2 cup. I think that’s why some of your readers are getting runny pies and not getting the consistency that it’s suppose to be.

  35. How did you make the pie pops? They are so cute!

  36. OMG. I ate this at the Milk Bar in NYC yesterday for the first time. It’s up there with some of the best desert I’ve ever eaten, including eating plenty of deserts in France.

    There is a special magic how the Milk Bar pastry chef makes it. It can’t be matched to making it at home!

    But we can all keep on trying! ;)

  37. It is a variation on the “chess pie” as others have observed. But like everything in baking some people are master chefs and magic to their great baking and then the rest of us are wonderful home cooks following their recipe.
    The the chefs brilliant revission and creation from an old classic.

  38. Yeah, in the beginning mine was seriously melted butter and had separated from the sugar mixture, i was scared that it was ruined but after a few hours it set and I was in crack pie heaven

  39. I made this last year after the milk bar chef interview in bon appetite, the one she gave to bon appetite is different from this one but looks that same. It was delicious! I am currently in culinary school for baking in pastry and when i try recipes on my own I only ever have one piece then I go make friends :) but It seriously I super yummy the crust in an unbelievable I suggest using sea salt gives that wonderful contrast of sweet and salty bite. I do recommend looking up the bon appetite recipe issue because she also gives out a few other recipes from the milk bar :)

  40. Steph – I am dying to make this pie but would only like to make one. Did you have any problems halving the recipe? Or do you have any suggestions?

    The recipe is simple, but time-consuming because of the three parts (cookie, pie crust, filling). You end up using just half a stick short of an entire pound of butter. Yes, the pie comes out of the oven oozing butter from the bottom of the tart mold. But remember, this pie has to set and chill before it is served. Once the melted butter reconstitutes, the pie will bind up. Also, you must use the dried milk powder. It adds a depth of flavor. It is not a binding agent, the 8 eggs alone do that. Someone said that Chef Tosi uses “a little corn flour” as a binder. I don’t know about this as someone on the blog attempted to make the recipe using corn flour and the finished product had a hard crust and the inside did not set. If you love caramel or dulce de leche you will love this pie.

    CeLo on June 6th, 2011 at 10:49 pm
  41. Do you have to have the tins or can you use a traditional glass pie pan to bake these? If you can, how would that differ on bake time? I must admit.. I’m a terrible cook, but I’m DYING to try these!

  42. I ate this last night. The name Crack Pie is not a coincidence. Wow.

  43. Sorry if someone asked this already, but how did you make the Crack Pie Pots? I’m assuming that’s the little pie-lets on the end of a popsicle stick.
    Very cute! And I’m thinking perfect for a bake sale :-)

  44. Made this yesterday, started tasting this morning, sent some down to friends staying at our guest house on the beach — they DEMANDED more, we reluctantly sent more. This is a pain in the ass to make the first time, but I think the second time will be much easier — I’ll know what to expect and won’t be so nervous. WOW.

    Linda Sanders on May 27, 2011 at 10:54 am
  45. Question about the salt — kosher? Big flake other salt? Regular table salt? Mine needs a bit more saltiness, I think.

    Linda Sanders on May 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm
  46. I was so happy to find this recipe after being lucky enough to try Momofuku’s Crack Pie in NY on my last visit. I was disappointed at first because it was not the consistency of the original…however after being refridgerated over night, it is how I remembered it! YUMMY!! I’m in heaven!!!

  47. I just made these pies (sadly, I have to wait until tomorrow to try them) and was thinking about freezing one to serve for father’s day next weekend. have you tried freezing them in the past? If so, was it as good once defrosted?

  48. love this pie – cooked mine for longer (about 45 mins total) but still fudgy and delicious. Did it in a loose bottomed tin and all the butter ran out into the bottom of the oven but not sure that it made a difference tho’ as still gooey

  49. Hi – I love the Crack Pie and have made several times! My family clamors for it :-) I just tried to make mini Cracks (i.e. 4″ indiv tarts) which came out ok (taste good but still trying to get the cooking time right etc). Would love to try to make the Crack Pops so wondered if you could share how you did it. My nephews would love these. Thanks Deb

  50. can you substitute the milk powder for regular milk? or must you use the milk powder?

Add a Comment

(required)

Not published (required)

Optional Link