Legal crack = easy ::::
I started out last weekend on a bad note. Nothing seemed to go right on Friday, and Thursday wasn’t so great either. It was just one of those weeks where I felt, and still do, so frustrated about so many things. My saving grace was an unexpected walk through a nature preserve. I watched a whimbrel, a large brown shorebird poking its decurved bill into the tideflats. I was too far away to see what it was eyeing; after numerous attempts, there was something in its beak. I also found myself lying on a dock on top of dirty webbed footprints, staring up a speckled hill of marshy mud. At first glance, I was sure these baubles in the mud were animal feces. As I listened and stared, I noticed quiet hissing and movement coming from these bits of mud. Snails crept ever so slightly over the brown sludge, shells totally covered in mud.
While the kiss of nature helped, I still went to bed that night irritated. A somewhat comfortable sleep, but I awoke startled. I had one of those dreams where you wake in the dream, convinced that whatever is playing out is true. I had awakened in this dream to find my mom suddenly visiting, unannounced. I was surprised more than anything, as I noted the dozens of small potted violets in the backyard she had brought to plant (via a flight across the country?) and that she busied herself in the kitchen, cleaning up some undetermined mess. Not that this is odd behavior in reality, but the multitude of violets lining my backyard plot cued me in that something wasn’t quite right. I awoke disappointed (a real awakening this time), not that I wouldn’t have lovely purple flowers growing throughout my garden, but that my mom was, in fact, not here. Sometimes our subconscious tells us things that we don’t readily admit. Seeing as my mom and dad are just getting back from a summer of working in Maine, driving back to Illinois, it is highly unlikely that she would have hopped a plane and arrived in California fresh-faced as in my dream. I’m a stressed out woman and sometimes I just want my mommy.
Some people deal with stress with exercise, with talking to family or friends, journaling, and chemicals. Exercise helps, when I find the time to do it. I talk to friends and family occasionally, when our schedules permit. Journaling is usually piecemeal, while my kids are running around and my focus on my words isn’t the best. I find chemicals aren’t the best choice, seeing as alcohol and elicit substances end up causing a whole new host of problems. So I compromised.
I felt compelled to make up for my realistic, untrue dream with crack — crack pie, that is. It seemed so apropos: It’s got the crack name; it’s got gooey, caramel sweetness with oatmeal and filling; it’s got a recipe involved enough that I have to focus on something other than my life for a couple of hours. It’s that departure that helps me figure things out, as if my focus on butter and sugar helps sort through the muck of life indirectly.
The original recipe made two pies, which I immediately thought would be too much for our family. I scaled the recipe to one pie proportions, and after trying it both at room temperature and cold, immediately regretted it. Eat and I polished off 75% of the pie in one night. One night. I first thought the illicit drug moniker was a bit funny, aptly named for marketing purposes and to pique interests of foodies perusing the menu at Momofuku. After our one-pie gorge without guilt, I understood just how aptly named the pie is. See the header photo? That was the morning after Eat and I had our fill and after sharing a small slice with a church and blogger friend, thinking the night before I could take more photos in the morning of a mostly-there pie.
It is crack. Don’t deny it. Make two. Give one away if you can’t handle the addiction.
The LA Times recipe is the one I used, so if you want a recipe already doubled, you can check it out here. I did scale back on the sugar in the filling quite a bit, as many comments from other bloggers on other websites have noted a tooth-twinging sweetness, like Pecan Pie filling without the nuts. I felt my filling was just the right sweetness and still very rich.
Legal crack addiction, right here. Enjoy it you will, guaranteed, without the jail time.
- OATMEAL COOKIE FOR CRUST: ⅓ cup + 1 heaping teaspoon flour
- pinch baking powder
- pinch teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- ½ egg (use part of the white for an omelet from the eggs you separate later for the filling)
- Scant ½ cup rolled oats
- CRUST: Crumbled cookie from above
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 scant tablespoon brown sugar
- pinch salt
- FILLING: ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 3½ tablespoons milk powder
- ½ cup butter, melted
- scant ½ cup (100 ml) heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- prepared crust
- Powdered sugar to garnish (optional)
- This pie calls for a 10-inch pie tin (I used a Springform). You can substitute a 9-inch pie tin, but note that the pie will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.
- FOR THE OATMEAL COOKIE: Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
- Stir in the flour mixture until fully combined. Stir in the oats.
- Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack (didn't take mine long). Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.
- FOR THE CRUST: 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). Press the crust into a 10-inch pie tin (or Springform pan, like me) to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tin. Set the prepared crust aside while you prepare the filling.
- FOR THE FILLING: Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.
- Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
- Pour filling into prepared pie shell.
- Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie and cool on a rack.
- The original recipe states to serve cold, but I liked it at room temperature also. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.