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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi on the Next Big Dessert

We caught up with the founder of the famous sweet spot (and snagged her recipe for Crack Pie)!

Momofuku, crack pie, christina Tosi

Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar

Christina Tosi—the New York-based chef, owner and founder of Momofuku Milk Bar and the brainchild behind their infamous Crack Pie—was a recent guest at the inaugural Taste of Toronto food festival, where she manned the Momofuku Milk Bar booth and led a cooking demonstration for her many fans. We scored a recipe from the award-winning chef and also got the lowdown on what she considers the next great dessert mash-up. (Cronuts are so 2013.) Read on for the sweet deets.

What was it like to win the 2012 James Beard Rising Star Chef award? It was one of the incredible honours of my lifetime. I was the first pastry chef to be given such a powerful nod. I would be nowhere without my team and to be able to share such an important distinction with them was incredibly important for me.

The Milk Bar in Toronto is your first international location. What’s the most popular dessert there? It used to be crack pie and compost cookies, but since we launched soft serve on our menu, it’s the cereal milk ice cream with cornflake crunch!

Where or what do you always try eat when you’re in the city? We’ve been to Dumpling House twice already since we landed. I try to hit up Buca or Bar Buca, Tim Hortons and Bar Isabel. I’m pumped about the Parts & Labour burger bar, too!

What’s the best dessert in Toronto (besides what’s on the menu at Momofuku)? I’m a big fan of the butter tart in any and every form. I’m also excited to have a few scoops too many at Dutch Dreams—ice cream is what summer is all about, after all!

We’re over cronuts now. What do you predict will be the next great dessert mash-up? Pie cake! We have an apple pie cake coming on our menu in the next month; buckle your seat belts, it’s a doozy.

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie® Recipe

Crack Pie
1 prepared batch of Oat Cookie (recipe here)
15 g (1 tbsp tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
55 g (4 tbsp) butter, melted, or as needed
1 prepared batch of Crack Pie® filling (recipe here)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

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

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Put the prepared 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 1-1/2 tbsp) butter and knead it in.

4. Divide the oat crust evenly between two (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 five days or in the fridge for up to two 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 five 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 five minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye centre but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional
five 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 results in 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 five days; in the freezer, they will keep for one month. Transfer from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of one hour before you’re ready to get in there.

9. Serve your Crack Pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.