Thursday, June 27, 2013

June Daring Bakers' Challenge - Pie

Get ready for some deliciousness - it's Daring Baker time!

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie! 

Rachael gave us four options to choose from, but also gave us the freedom to make any pie that tickled our fancy, as long as we made it (crust/pastry included) from scratch.

One of the recipes that Rachael provided was for a pie that has quite a reputation.  Made famous at a very popular restaurant in New York City, Momofuku's Milk Bar, Crack Pie is something that I had never tried, but I had been dying to, based on its reputation alone. Now, to be completely honest, I didn't even know exactly what "crack pie" was until I saw the recipe in the challenge, but I knew when I saw it listed that I would be trying.

Crack pie, like most pies, has two main components - the crust and the filling. The crust is actually made from an oatmeal cookie base, which little man helped me put together.

The cookie is baked into a thin sheet...

...which is then crumbled, mixed with sugar and butter, and pressed into the pie plate.

It was at this point that I knew I was in trouble. The crust was so delicious even on its own, I had no doubt that I'd be loving the pie and eating way too much of it.

The filling is a rich combination of egg yolks, heavy cream, two kinds of sugars... yeah. Deliciousness whipped together and poured into the pie crust.

Then the whole thing bakes and the hard part begins - it needs to rest overnight for maximum deliciousness.

But let me tell you.

It's worth the wait.

Holy moly, this pie is delicious. Very sweet but not in a bad way. Little miss and daddy actually recommended that I add chocolate chips next time, but I thought it was darn near perfect as it was.

This pie is so addictive, one bite and you'll understand the name.

But I wasn't done.

One of the other options that was provided in the challenge was a double-crust apple pie. Now, I love apple pie, but that's more of a Fall thing for me. (I know, don't point out the fact that I make pumpkin recipes year round...)

Being as June is the beginning of summer and berry picking season, I decided to fill my double crust with something more seasonal - strawberries and rhubarb.

When it comes to fresh-fruit pies, I like to let the fruit be the star, so I like the recipe to be nice and simple, which is why I chose this recipe to follow.

For this pie, I chose to use a sourdough crust.  And for the crust, I wanted to go a little fancier than I normally do.

For my top crust, I cut very thin strips...

...and tried to fancy up my lattice weave.

This pie cooked up beautifully, the crust nice and golden and the filling bubbly and delicious.

Rachael, I can't thank you enough for this awesome and delicious challenge. I love pies and am thrilled to have finally had the opportunity to try crack pie! I can't wait to try the other recipes you provided this month for even more deliciousness.

To see the challenge as it was presented to us, check it out here.

And to see the other delicious pies baked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

Crack Pie
(from Bon Appetite)

For the Oat Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

For the Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

To Prepare the Oat Cookie Crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper and coat it with nonstick spray.
Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
Add egg and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan.
Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together.
Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

To Prepare the Filling
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
Add melted butter and whisk until blended.
Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended.
Pour filling into crust.
Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer.
Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
(From Mel's Kitchen Cafe, with crust from the Bonjon Gourmet)

For the crust:
2 cups flour (you can use all purpose, whole wheat or a combination)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (variable, depending on your pie)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold, cut into cubes
about 1 cup 100%-hydration sourdough starter

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour(s), salt and sugar. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like gravel, with some butter worked in and some 1/4" chunks remaining. Gradually add the starter, folding the mixture with a spoon or your hands until it just starts to come together into large clumps.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide roughly into 8 portions. Fraisage the dough: using the heel of your hand, scrape a portion of dough across the surface. Repeat with the remaining dough. Gather the dough into two balls. Flatten the balls into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes, and up to a few days. (Or freeze for up to a couple months. Defrost before proceeding.)
When you are ready to proceed with your pie, remove the dough from the fridge. If it is very firm, you may need to let it soften at room temp for 15 minutes or so. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of the dough out into a 14" round. Fit into the pie pan leaving a slight overhang.  Chill the rolled dough while you prepare the pie filling.
Once the pie has been filled, roll the second portion. Cut into strips for a lattice top or cover the pie and cut slits/vents - whatever you choose.

For the pie:
2 3/4 cups sliced rhubarb, about 5-6 medium stalks
2 cups sliced strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium-large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.
Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture in the prepared and rolled out crust, using a large spoon to fill evenly.
Cover filling with lattice top (or a streussel topping, or top-crust of your choice)
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges halfway with foil to prevent over-browning.
Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired.



  1. Your Strawberry Rhubarb Pie looks great! The top crust is beautiful.

  2. Oh - those pies look so good.
    I think that this was the motivation that several of us needed to churn out a Crack Pie :-)

  3. Both pie look gorgeous! I'd love to try a slice please ;)

  4. Beautiful Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, wonderful done!

  5. That lattice is so pretty! Nice job on your pies.

  6. OK, the crack pie looks really great and all, but that strawberry rhubarb pie... oh man it is calling my name! Beautiful lattice - that is how a pie should look!

  7. Both pie look awesome and lattice on strawberry rhubarb pie is gorgeous

  8. Kudos for trying both the lovely pies

  9. Such a beautiful lattice on your strawberry/rhubarb pie & the crack pie looks glorious too!

  10. Shelley, they both look so amazingly good!!! Thanks so much for baking with me this month :)

  11. Crack pie doesn't get made in my house anymore because I can't stop eating the entire pie by myself! Love the sound of the sourdough crust - I have a jar of starter sitting on my counter that I feed every morning (we made sourdough pretzels today and sourdough hamburger buns!) and would love to try it in pie crust. thanks for the idea!

  12. Shelley, your pie looks awesome, true!
    Beautiful lattice work too!
    Cheers! Joanne


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