Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cook your hobby: Scrabble cookies!

Recently there was  a cooking challenge over at the Chickenless Kitchen: Cook your hobby!  By that, she she meant that everyone should in some way cook something that represented in some way one of their other non-cooking hobbies.  I thought it was a great idea, and immediately thought of several options: cooking (wait, no, that didn't count)... reading!  Yes, that works!  Ah, but what then?  Make a bunch of book cupcakes?  Nope.  I needed something more interesting... How about mice racing?  Hmm... would be great if I actually did something like that, but since I just made it up I'm pretty sure I'd get called out pretty quickly.  Yeah, I could say photography, painting, travel and all the other hobbies easily found on survey checklists... but that's no fun, right... ? 

You know what IS fun?  Scrabble!  I decided to do Scrabble Cookies because I really do love Scrabble and Jason and I often talk friends into playing horrible mutant versions of the game for our amusement.  It's always good times.  Also, the idea of making rectangular cookies with letters on them seemed simple enough...

So I went to consult my trusty Joy of Cooking and found a nice recipe for a fourteen-in-one master cut out cookie recipe and adapted it to make: Wood Grain Orange Chocolate Cookies!  The wood grain was important to me as real scrabble tiles are wood and I've always loved that about them.  After finding a good way to achieve that, it's simply a matter of either piping on chocolate ganache for letters or using an edible marker (I tried the latter version on my "actual size" cookies since they were a bit small to manuever a piping bag around).  On a side note: I had tried another method for the letters involving mini alphabet cookie cutters that I sent away for specially, but it was a total, hilarious disaster.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the sad, slumpy & disfigured letters it produced.  Ah well, in the end it turned out good!

If you enjoy these cookies half as much as I enjoy Scrabble, my work here is done...

Recipe: Scrabble Cookies

For the Wood Grain Chocolate Orange Cookies (adapted from Joy of Cooking's Marble Cookies)...
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter cut into 14 pieces, at room temperature (that's 2 sticks)
1 cup superfine sugar (you can also pulse granulated sugar in a food processor for 1 minute)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces melted semisweet baking chocolate
The zest of 1 orange

For the Letters...
For larger (2 inch high) cookies: 1 cup chocolate ganache, cooled slightly and added to a piping bag with a number 3 round pastry tip (you'll need a bar of semisweet baking chocolate and a pint of heavy cream for this - see "ganache" link for method)
For "actual size" (2.5 cm high) cookies: Edible black marker

What to do with it all...
  1. On medium speed, mix butter, sugar and salt unti fluffy
  2. Add egg yolk, whole egg, zest and vanilla and mix until well blended
  3. Reduce speed to low and add flour slowly until well combined
  4. Divide dough half, wrap and refigerate unti firm - at least 1 hour and up to 2 days
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degree F and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat
  6. On a well-floured surface, roll out your first round to a 14 inch thick then drizzle over half your melted chocolate
  7. Knead the dough loosely to incorporate the chocolate just so you see streaks in the dough
  8. Re-flour your surface and roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick
  9. Cut cookies to desired size using a ruler and a sharp knife: 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches for large cookies, 2.5 cm by 2 cm for "actual size" cookies"
  10. Repeat process with second dough half
  11. Place cookies on baking sheets, and place sheets into oven (one on lower rack, one on upper)
  12. Bake for 5 - 7 minutes, rotating sheets half way thru baking (watch closely for browning)
  13. Cook and decorate either with melted ganache, or edible marker (recommended for smaller cookies)
Makes approx 2 dozen large Scrabble cookies, or a whole boards' worth of the "actual size"!

On another note, I'd like to thank Nancy of wonderful Spicie Foodie and Kathy of the brilliant Colors of Indian Cooking for the Honest Scrap Award!  In accepting this award, I am supposed to list 10 honest things about myself, so here goes!

1.  My kitchen is a whopping 100 square feet (about 7 x 14), galley style, with practically no workable surface areas.  I sometimes pretend I am MacGuyver to invent ways to cook (I know lots of people have much smaller kitchens and I should not complain!)
2.  I've never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like
3.  I will choose a pickle over a cupcake on any day of the week
4.  I didn't not learn to swim until I was 20 due to a fear of water
5.  I secretly believe myself to be a queen of the thrift stores (with pride) for my ability to find amazing things in them
6.  As a child I was so sensitive to sugar that I once ran off and dislocated my own shoulder in a hyperactive flurry after inhaling a pudding cup that a friend of my parents' unwittingly gave me
7.  I have a dream to someday own goats
8.  My big toes point upwards a bit and give off the appearance of being snobbish
9.  Everyone in Chicago seems to love living by the lake, which I did once, and hated it passionately come Winter
10.  Though I am a born and bred Chicago girl, I prefer New York style pizza to Chicago deep dish... which is, of course, sacrilege...

Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Midweek Meals: Healthy, Quick Mediterranean Vegetable Saute

Vegetables are amazing.  In looking up nutritional content for the ingredients for a midweek meal, I learned some very nifty things about what I was eating...

Eggplant - Is a fabulous "diet" veggie.  It's low in fat and calories, high in thyroid-supporting manganese and a good source of fiber.  Another interesting thing about eggplant?  It has more nicotine than any other edible plant!  Though you'd have to eat a bushel of eggplant before you reached the concentration of nicotine found in just one cigarette, so it's probably not the best idea to light one up, sorry.

Cauliflower - Considered a "nutritionally dense" food, cauliflower is a happy place to find vitamin C and a host of phytochemicals to fight cancer.  There are also studies that show it may work as a estrogen regulator (due to indole-3-carbinol) and glucosinolates that could help your liver detoxify.  Happy news for pub crawlers!

Chickpeas (garbanzos) - A nice low-fat source of protien and fiber.  Tossing a can of these precooked babies into your veggies gives your 29% of your protien in every serving.

Green (or French) beans - Great for your bones as they contain 25% of your vitamin K in each serving (helps fight osteoperosis), and a good amount of calcium.  Many sources believe that green food sources of calcium are betterfor the body then dairy sources, too, by the way!  I know my favorite clinical professor way back when I was in school as a bodywork therapist always paraded that theory.

In 2010 I'm making efforts to revive an old way of eating that worked really well for me, but I just got away from.  On the weekdays, I would focus on vegetarian and seafood meals only and enjoy meat only on the weekends.  I always felt like I had great energy when I followed this with care.  The problem came in when I was too busy to make proper meals and ended up eating potato chip dinners.  Bad, bad!  That's where having some nice pre-planned recipes that I love come in handy.  For me, it's motivational to know why the foods I'm preparing are good for me, too, so I've been doing my research!

Essentially, these recipes are going into a sort of food journal for me to improve my eating habits.  In doing so, I figured why not share them with all of you, too?  I'm planning to add some recipes that are based on fun healthy foods lists (if such a thing can be called fun?) such as the recent New York Times article on The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating (thanks to Cheryl for printing that out for me!).

So what do you think?  Would you like to see more recipes like this one?  What are some of your favorite healthy foods to include in weekday meals? 

Recipe: Healthy Quick Medditerrean Vegetable Sautè

What you need...

1 can chickpeas
3 cups chopped eggplant
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pound whole fresh green beans
3 cups chopped cauliflower florets
2/3 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon dry dill (or small bunch of chopped fresh)
1 tablespoon dry oregano (or small bunch chopped fresh)
1 tablespoon dry mint (or small bunch chopped fresh)
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup vegetable stock or water
Olive oil for sauteing
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do with it all...
  • Heat (on medium) enough olive oil in a large heavy bottom sautè pan to coat it
  • Add your onions and cauliflower florets and allow to sautè for 3 mins or until they get a fragrant
  • Add eggplant, red pepper and green beans and cook for another 5 - 8 minutes on medium, stirring occassionally
  • Add all the rest of your ingredients, toss/stir to combine and cook on medium-low until cauliflower is just fork tender (about 10 mins)
  • Serve over rice!

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    How to make all-natural rainbow cupcakes: guest post at!

    The other day the talented artist and all-around-terrific food person Carol Egbert invited me to write a guest post for her.  I couldn't be more thrilled - her illustrations and recipes are such that my post blushes to rub shoulders with them.  You really must take a moment to check out her beautiful site, and while you're there, you can visit my un-recipe post on making the famous rainbow cupcake with a twist: all-natural fruit and spice colors!

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Pursuits in baking - Easy Blueberry Lemon Bundt

    So, I've decided to start baking more.  I've hesitant to bake much for years, limiting myself to just flipping thru baking and decorating books and vicariously making alterations and imagining the perfect, awe-inspring results.  The reality, I felt, would be much different.  Exploding muffin tins, caved cheesecakes and gravity-oppressed souffles haunt my dreams.

    I'm not exactly sure why I have this primal fear of desserts.  Perhaps starting up now will reveal a repressed memory of a bananas foster gone wrong setting my pigtails a-flame as a child?  Or maybe in another life I was flattened by a rogue 50 lbs bag of flour that leapt from a high shelf at the General Store?  More likely it's a simple fear of failure... and the mess this will turn my kitchen into on a regular basis.

    All of that being said, I'm excited to branch out into the baking world... and to be sharing it with all of you.  Hopefully they're be lots of fun to be had, and probably a disaster or two to laugh about.  I mean, seriously, look what I do when I just taking PICTURES of baked things.

    I thought I'd start out with some baby steps here and explore a couple of recipes that almost require a cake mix.  I say "require" because I've learned the hard way that adding things willy-nilly to pre-set cake recipes can get you into lots of trouble.  Boxed cake mixes, besides being fool-proof, contain emulsifiers that allow you throw in additions without making much, if any, changes to the mix recipe.

    So here is my first project.  Be sure to check out the wonderful Carol Egbert's site for another project I guest posted on rainbow cupcakes using all-natural color - it should be up soon!

    Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Burst Bundt Cake

    What you'll need...
    One box vanilla or white cake mix (you can also use lemon if you really want lemony cake!)
    Whatever ingredients the cake mix calls for
    1 cup of plain yogurt (you can also use blueberry yogurt to really up the blueberry flavor!)
    1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
    1/2 cup water
    The zest and juice of one lemon
    1 teaspoon of turmeric (optional, for bright yellow color - don't worry, your cake won't taste like turmeric!)

    Special equipment: 12 cup bundt pan, small sauce pan, hand blender or food processor

    What to do with it all...

    Preheat oven to temperature according to boxed mix for a bundt pan
    Liberally grease your bundt pan 
    Add blueberries and water to a small saucepan to simmer for 5 mins, or until thawed (if using frozen) then allow to cool
    Mix all cake mix ingredients according to directions, folding in the cup of yogurt, lemon juice and zest and optional turmeric
    Puree your blueberries using a hand blender or food processor/stand blender
    Pour puree into your cake batter, but do not stir
    Pour batter into your bundt pan and bake according to box instructions (your cake may take a little longer because of the additions)
    Remove after baking and allow to cool before inverting and removing
    Glaze with a simple syrup, honey or simply dust with powdered sugar!

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    4 Best Whimisical Hors d'oeuvres: Thai Pumpkin Wonton Cups

    This is the last in the series of 4 hors d'oeuvres put together for the new decade.  This one may not have eyes, but I think it still qualifies as whimsical.  The colors are oh-so-pretty, and these are fairly simple to make ahead and reheat for guests just before spooning on the fresh onion salsa!

    What you need...

    For the filling
    1 can pumpkin puree
    1 cup coconut milk
    1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon sugar

    For the salsa topping
    1/2 medium red onion, sliced thinly
    1 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
    5 red chilies
    1 lime, juiced and zested
    Salt and pepper to taste

    For the cups
    1 package round wonton or dumpling wrappers
    Sesame oil for brushing

    Special equipment: pastry brush, mini cupcake tin

    What to do with it all...
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
    Combine your salsa ingredients and set aside 

    Brush one side of each wonton wrapper, and then place into a mini cupcake well, oiled side down

    Combine all of your filling ingredients and spoon into each wonton (enough to reach the brim of the pan)

    Bake for approx 15 mins or until wontons are golden

    Remove from oven and spoon a little salsa into each cup


    Thanks for following the whimsical hors d'oeuvres series.  Here's a look at the previous 3!

    Olive penguins and mozzarella snowmen

    Tomato bisque shots and mini grilled cheese

    Olive oil blinis and fried quail eggs (mini pancakes and eggs)

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    The best whimsical hors d'oeuvres - Mini pancakes and eggs {Olive oil blinis with quail eggs}

    Here's the 3rd in my January series of whimsical hors d'oeuvres: the mini pancakes and eggs!  The idea came from the cartons of quail eggs I continually pass in the Vietnamese markets near my house.  They're one of those things you just need the right excuse to buy... and here it is!

    In Chicago, Chinatown and Little Vietnam are great places to find fresh quail eggs.  You can also sometimes find them at gourmet, specialty or various Asian grocery stores.  There's not a huge flavor difference, in my opinion, between quail and chicken eggs - perhaps a bit gamier, but nothing off-putting to be sure.  The yolks are plump and rich, the whites fry up nicely.  I'd say the biggest thing to be aware of is that the membranes on the eggs are usually pretty thick.  Couple that with their tiny size and cracking them are a little bit more of a challenge... though I have freakishly doll-sized hands so it's not really so much of an issue for me!

    Gaaaah!  Mini hands!!!

    Recipe: Mini pancakes and eggs {OR} Olive oil blinis with quail eggs

    What you need to get...

    For the blinis (makes approx 12):
    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 tablespoon sugar
    1 egg
    1 cup milk
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Butter for frying

    6 fresh quail eggs

    Optional toppings: caramelized onions, bacon crumbles, fresh salsa, fresh dill, creme frache

    What to do with it all...

    Heat your griddle or non-stick pan on medium heat
    Combine the blini ingredients (except the butter) and mix until blended
    Melt enough butter to just coat your frying surface
    Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter onto your cooking surface for each blini
    Cook on each side for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden
    Set aside in a stack and keep in a warm place, such as unheated oven
    Add a little more butter to fry your eggs, cracking each individually
    Fry for about 3 minutes, or until whites are set
    To serve: Stack 2 blinis on individuals plates, top with one fried quail egg, accompany with one or more toppings on the side (optional)

    Makes 6 pieces

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Reinventing the Lamington cake: LAMBington cake "pops"... PART TWO!

    Finally after much smoke and messy chocolate, the LAMBingtons photos & recipe is here!


    Mortimer - the Traditionalist:

    Clementine - The Sweet One:

    Hubert - The... One That Got a Little Too Close to the Photo Lights and Got Melty:

    As I mentioned yesterday, I had a little fire while taking pictures of these little guys, so I had to delay my REAL post until now.  So here they are, and if I must say so myself, they are rather adorable!  Thanks to Mr. P for creating a brilliant challenge over at Delicious Delicious Delicious He asked everyone to reinvent the lamington cake - the famous Australian dessert.  I thought, well, Australia has lots of lambs, right?  And "lamington" sure is close to LAMB...ington... soooooo....

    I decided to model these little babies after the one and only Bakerella basic recipe for cake pops.  Those adorable, one-of-a-kind masterpieces that you don't even have to like cake to enjoy looking at for hours.  After making these, I searched her site and found that she even had some little sheep pops already!  They're very different from my guys, but I have a feeling if you put them all together in a room with some cocktails, they'd get along really well.  Obviously my sheep are not actually "pops" as they have legs... made out of plain Pocky sticks!  But the cake ball recipe is Bakerella's.  It was Jason's idea to add the chocolate eyes, by the way, and I'm so glad.  I really think they make these little guys.  He's brilliant!

    Have you ever been the black sheep in the family?  This guy knows your pain!

    So without further ado, here's my version of the lamington cake... I'm probably going to come back to this post to add more instructional photos and some better lit lamb photos once my new light arrives - yes, did I tell you?  I bought a new light to replace my burned light box.  It is, incidentally, the same one Bakerella uses *proud smile*.  Until then, I'll be feeling a little *ahem* SHEEPish about my sadly lit photos...

    Recipe: The LAMBington Cake

    What you need to get...

    1 box of lemon or vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients on the back of the box per baking instructions)
    1 can of vanilla frosting (16 oz)
    1 package of white chocolate baking/melting chips (11 oz)
    1 package of milk chocolate baking/melting chips (11 oz)
    1 jar of good jam or preserves (I used quince)
    1 bar of milk chocolate, shaved (you can use chocolate sprinkles instead)
    1 cup shredded/dessicated coconut
    1 box of plain Pocky - such as "Rost" variety OR small unsalted thin pretzel sticks
    1 tablespoon Garam Masala (optional)
    1 cup raw almonds
    1 cup blanched/skinless almonds

    Special equipment: 13 x 9 cake pan, large bowl, wax paper, a toothpick

    What to do with it all...

    • For the cake oval bodies, bake your box cake according to directions for a 13 x 9 cake, adding the tablespoon of Garam Masala if desired  (also see Bakerella basic recipe)
    • Allow cake to cool and crumble into a large bowl, and add your vanilla frosting by large spoonfuls and combine by hand until you achieve a consistency sort of like meatloaf - easy to form ovals
    • Using a walnut-sized amount of cake mixture, form an oval shape, then cut the oval in half lengthwise and spread a small amount of jam in between - reassemble like a sandwich and reshape to an oval
    • Cut the ends off of Pocky sticks in one-inch pieces (you want the end pieces as they will form the feet), OR if you are using thin pretzel sticks, cut them in half
    • Melt your white and milk chocolate chips in small bowls according to package directions
    • Dip your cut ends of the Pocky or pretzle sticks into the chocolate (some in milk, some in white as you wish the final colors of the lambs to be), just a scant centimeter or so and then stick into your oval, repeat 3 x until you have "legs" (the chocolate acts as a glue of sorts) - make sure your legs are at even lengths so that when you set them down later, they'll stand properly
    • Place your lambs on their "backs" on a plate or small tray under a piece of wax paper and place into the freezer for at least 10 minutes
    • During this time you can arrange your "wooling" station by spreading shredded coconut on one plate, chocolate shavings or sprinkles on another, and rewarming your milk and white chocolate for dipping
    • Remove lambs from freezer and carefully dip one by one into the chocolate color to match the legs - make sure to cover the sides and front & tail
    • Quickly move your dipped lamb from the chocolate to the coconut or shavings and coat - chocolate dries quickly!
    • Now re-dip just one end slightly in chocolate to act as glue to attach your almond face - attach the almond with the pointed end so you have a rounded face
    • To make eyes you can either just dab on milk chocolate with the toothpick, or attach small bits of solid chocolate that you've rolled between your fingers just a little to soften and make round and attach that using the melted chocolate and the toothpick
    That's it!  The LAMBington!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Reinventing the Lamington cake: LAMBington cake "pops"... PART I

    Yeah... this is Part I for a reason that was not in my plan when I started putting this little guy together tonight.  But a lot of things weren't in my plan when I started this tonight...

    First things first, though.  Mr. P of the venerable Delicious Delicious Delicious is holding a Lamington competition this month.  A very cool idea that I immediately had an entry in mind for.  While that entry is now, at this moment, sitting in my dining room, the rest of the plan (lots of brothers for my little entry and lots of pretty photos to accompany them) was not to be tonight.

    The reason why?  I nearly set my house on fire with one of my photography lights.  Yep.  The photo says it all...

    I'm a nine to fiver and I go to school, so often take my food photos at night using a little make-shift softbox light I build out of a cardboard box and and old t-shirt that I was very proud of... however, while taking pictures of my creation tonight, one of the lights tipped forward without my knowlege while I was arranging the shot and ignited the shirt part while I was fiddling with the Lamington.  NOTE: These lights are not normally that close to the lightbox, they were shifted during the "Omigod, fire!  What do I do?!  Stop Drop and Roll??!!  No... find blanket???  Maybe... Call hero boyfriend from other room to come douse the flames??!!  YES!!" part of the photo session.

    Anyways, lesson learned here is don't be cheap, even if you're a poor student, and make your own lightbox thinking it will save you money.  Saving $$$ = Flamable Materials.   So, while we had a good laugh about it afterwards (and a few beers to calm the nerves),  needless to say I now no longer have a softbox light.  Therefore, I will have to take my proper pictures of this creation in daylight tomorrow... nice and early.

    In the meantime, here is a shot in icky lighting of my entry for the very awesome contest at Mr. P's place...

    There's also a chocolate/square version of him which will be completed tomorrow (he's resting in this photo, obviously, waiting to be coated in yummy frosting)...

    Did I mention that the prize for winning this particular contest is a cookie cutter in the shape of a Welsh Dragon?  Yeah, pretty kick ace... of course, dragons breathe *gulp* ... fire...

    So until tomorrow, when I will be revealing the recipe, REAL photos, etc for this challenge... I say goodnight to everyone.  I'm off to shower off the campfire smell!

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Whimsical hors d'oeuvres - tomato bisque shots and mini grilled cheese!

    As promised, here's the second set of hors d'oeuvres in my series of 4 celebrating the first month of the new decade: a spicy tomato bisque with mini grilled cheese to make you go AWWWWW...

    Note: I used sake cups for my "bowls" (a housewarming gift from my friend Ivon - thanks, Ivon!) but you can use anything little like shot glasses or demitasse cups...

    Recipe: Tomato Bisque Shots with Mini Grilled Cheese

    What you need for the bisque (makes about 6 cups)...

    1 medium Vidalia or other yellow/sweet onion, diced
    2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
    1/2 cup jarred or fresh roasted red peppers, diced
    4 tablespoons butter (divided in half)
    3 cloves garlic
    3 tablespoons AP flour
    4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (drained)
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    Splash of Marsala wine
    1/4 cup minced cilantro
    1/2 tablespoon cumin
    Cayenne pepper to taste
    Salt and pepper to taste

    What to get for the mini grilled cheese...

    A loaf of firm white/french bread, cut into triangles (about 20)
    Approx 1 pound of a good melting cheese: brie, Gouda, cheddar, Swiss, etc
    Butter or olive oil for pan grilling
    Other optional add-ons: olive tapenade, Ajvar spread, pesto... you name it!

    What to do with it all...

    For the bisque:
    • In a medium saucepan, melt 1/2 of your butter (2 tablespoons) and saute the onion, carrot and garlic on medium heat
    • Once they begin to brown, sprinkle flour over veggies and cook on low for another minute or until flour is well incorporated
    • Add the stock, canned and paste tomatoes, Marsala wine, and roasted peppers and bring to a boil
    • Lower the soup to medium-low and allow to cook just above a simmer until the veggies are tender
    • Use an immersion blender and partially puree the soup (you still want some chunks) - you can also do this in a blender or food processor using half the soup and pureeing then adding back to the saucepan
    • Add your cream, cumin, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and heat until just hot
    • Set aside until grilled cheese is ready, then add to shot glasses/cups/bowls
    For the grilled cheese:
    • Sandwich 10 slices of cheese between two triangles, smear one piece of bread w/optional spread
    • Brown on both sides in butter/oil in an oven-proof pan and transfer to broiler until golden and cheese is soft and partially melted
    • Place on the side or on rim of your bisque vessels!


    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Momofuku Milk Bar - The Crack Pie Recipe

    Martha Stewart said "crack" on national television.  I heard it with my own ears.  You can, too, if you go to this Eat Me Daily post.  Anyone familiar with the Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar in Manhattan knows that if you're talking crack, it's in reference to the crack pie David Chang whips up there.  Martha visited the now famous chef's concept bakery when it first opened, and she and only she could get him to divulge the recipe for this notoriously addictive pie.  Martha rocks.

    This pie, as it turns out, rocks, too.  Here's why:
    • It's got relatively few ingredients, and none of them fancy/unusual (at least this version)
    • It's rather easy to make, and you only need a baking pan and a 10 inch pie pan
    • It's delicious - really, really delicious... and I don't even like pies overall
    First, the ingredients. The recipe on the show was by weight, but several good people around the web have converted this to volume measurements - something I didn't know right away as I furiously scribbled down the aired recipe and then nearly cry when I realized I don't own a food scale.  Thank you, web people.  I then halved the recipe for just one pie (the show's recipe was for 2, 10 inch pies) and made a couple key changes: I took out the dry milk, for one.  Why?  I don't think most people have dry milk around the house, I certainly didn't, and I feel the purpose of this recipe is the awesome convenience of not having to run out for special ingredients.  If you have dry milk, or want to go out and buy some, bless your heart.  Here is a version from The Boston Foodie left untouched by my meddling.  

    I gotta warn you, any pie that has few ingredients is going to, obviously, have larger quantities of each: in this case that means lots of eggs... and lots of butter.  But seriously, it's called CRACK pie, so you can't really expect vitamins and minerals, can you? 

    A note on the eggs: there are three yolks required for the recipe (hey, the original wanted FOUR).  Might seem like a waste of whites, especially if you don't get lucky and get a double yolk like I did (Ha!), BUT, did you know you can freeze your egg whites?  Yep.

    Recipe: Momofuku Crack Pie - Peas Love Carrots Version (makes one 10-inch pie)

    For the cookie:
    1/4 cup unsalted, room temperature butter (1/2 stick)
    1/4 cup light-brown sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 medium egg
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
    1/8 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    For the crust:
    1/4 cup unsalted, room temperature butter (1/4 stick)
    1/2 tablespoon light-brown sugar
    Pinch of salt

    For the filling:
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt 
    1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter (1 stick)
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
    1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg

    Confectioners' sugar, for dusting 

    What to do with it all...

    • First make the cookie - preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Combine all the ingredients for the cookie and mix until well blended
    • Spread mixture on a greased cookie sheet (you can also line the cookie sheet w/parchment instead)
    • Bake cookie for 12 - 15 mins, or until golden

    • Let cool enough to handle then crumble into a large bowl and add the crust ingredients and combine well
    • Press crust into 10 inch pie pan, bottom and sides, and set aside

    • To make the filling - reduce oven to 325 degrees
    • Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth

    • Pour into pie crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until somewhat set
    • Reduce oven temperature again to 315 and bake until the top is browned
    • Remove from oven and cool slightly
    • Refrigerate for at least 30 mins and dust with confectioner's sugar before serving


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