My close friends will testify to this-I make a lot of crack pie. Anyone who has ever tasted Christina Tosi’s sweet-salty oat crust crack pie from Milk Bar in New York knows exactly what I’m talking about, but if you don’t, it’s a pie with a biscuit cookie base and a deep-coloured gooey custard filling. The first time I made it two years ago, I was 25 and borderline obsessed with the overly sweet world of Momofuku. I have definitely mellowed considerably since and don’t like my desserts very sweet now. The problem with making all that crack pie, getting it wrong, making it again was that I was left eating a whole lot of sugar custard, and slowly but surely began to understand why the pie had ‘crack’ in its name.
I think of this version as more of a grown-up crack pie because it’s salty, and I think when we start adulting, we pull a complete 180 and turn into salty people. No, I kid. This pie is just the right balance of sweet and salty, which is really the solution to the Momofuku crack pie problem-It was the tooth-pain giving kind of sweet. By giving this pie a salty Monaco crust top and a coconut biscuit bottom, it tastes pretty amazing-like macaroons and custard and Monaco biscuits all in a single bite.
Monaco Crack Pie
Yield 1 22-cm in diameter pie
This updated version of the crack pie isn’t as sweet as a regular crack pie, nor does it have the oat cookie base like the Milk Bar version. It’s the perfect salty-sweet combination with a salty Monaco top held together with sweet custard and a coconut pie base.
Caster sugar 100g
Brown sugar 60g
Milk powder 1 tsp
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Orange 1, zested
Monaco biscuits 1 150g packet, classic
Caster sugar 100g
All-purpose flour 90g
Coconut 40g, freshly grated or an equal amount desiccated coconut
Butter 80g, melted
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line a 22cm pie dish or a cake pan. Combine all the ingredients for the pie base in a bowl roughly with your hands until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs and press into the base of the cake pan.
Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes or till the top is very lightly coloured. You mustn’t be concerned with the fact that it’s not cooked all the way through because it will return to the oven again. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
Over a low flame, heat the butter and cream in a small saucepan until the butter has melted completely. Whisk together the sugars and milk powder together and set aside.
Add to the butter and cream mixture the two eggs, the vanilla essence, orange zest with a pinch of salt and whisk together. Add this mixture to the sugars and milk powder and lightly whisk. You don’t want to pack too much air into this mixture.
Cover the top of the coconut base with overlapping Monaco biscuits and pour over the custard making sure to cover all the biscuits. Transfer to the oven carefully and bake for 45 minutes or until the custard has set with just a light wobble at the centre, just like a cheesecake.
Note that the top of the crack pie tends to colour too quickly, so check within the first ten to fifteen minutes if you need to cook the pie with an aluminium foil on. When done, let the pie cool completely before serving, or refrigerate.