A couple days before Thanksgiving, a friend texted Shake and asked, “Would you want to come over for a late Thanksgiving get-together?”
“So do you?” Shake asked.
“Yeah, sure, why not?” But then I realized… “Oh. We should probably bring something, huh?”
But what to bring? I already had my hands full with turkey prep and I really wanted to avoid going back to the market. It was going to have to be a dessert because I had tons of dessert-making stuff and very little in the way of “real food” ingredients. (It was a post-dinner party anyway.) Several options from BAKED’s three cookbooks were rejected because they would require me to go back to the insanity that is the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving. (I’m gonna have to get back to those books soon.)
Then I came across Christina Tosi’s Brownie Pie recipe in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. Perfection! Unlike most of the recipes from the book, this one didn’t call for a ton of weird ingredients, multiple sub-recipes or complicated assembly. And it was something I could whip out in the morning before we headed to my parents’ to stick the turkey in the oven.
Reminder: Cooking by the Book posts are meant to be companions to the original recipe, not a substitute. As long as the book is still in print, I won’t be copying the recipe here for you. See here for why.
Before You Start (Regarding Ingredients)
Herein lies the beauty of this recipe. While in previous posts I’ve said that the recipes in Momofuku Milk Bar require ingredients that aren’t exactly common in everyday home kitchens, the reason I chose to make this recipe on 24 hours notice was because it required no shopping. I already had everything I needed. Granted, that was because I already had plans for baking, but everything is still easily obtained at your nearest grocery store.
The weirdest item you’ll need is milk powder (for the graham crust), but if you’ve made other Momofuku Milk Bar recipes before, you’re likely to have some already, and if not, it really is easy to find at the regular grocery store. Look for it wherever they have the non-dairy creamers and hot chocolates.
Easier than falling out of a chair. (And I do that about once a week at work, so you know, we’re talking REALLY easy here.)
This recipe also really shows why I say that although this book may contain some complex desserts, it’s written in a way that really makes the process as easy as possible. For one thing, the directions always specify whether to use the paddle or the whisk attachment on your mixer. (This recipe needs both at different times.) So many recipes out there just say, “use a stand mixer.”
And here’s an example of how wonderfully illustrative and specific Chef Tosi’s instructions are: When you whisk the eggs and sugar together, they “should form a thickened, silky ribbon that falls and then disappears into the batter.” You get such a clear idea of what you’re supposed to have in the bowl at any given stage in the recipe.
One note regarding the pie crust: The recipe says to use ¾ of a full recipe (the Graham Cracker Crust recipe is a separate recipe, used for several desserts). Just make the whole thing. Make your crust a little thicker, or just eat the extra like cereal. This really is THE BEST graham cracker crust I have ever encountered. It’s dense, a little sweet, a little salty and just oh-so-delicious.
My crust-making skills are pretty lame, as you can see. I ended up with one half of the crust thicker than the other.
It’s a simple pie, not fancy at all, although you can dress it up with powdered sugar and stencils, if you wanted.
The top of the pie should look baked—dull brown and puffed up a little, not shiny or wobbly—like your standard brownie. (See photo at the beginning of this post.) The center inside, however, will still be very fudgy—slightly under-baked, in fact. We ended up not going to the party for which I made this pie, but I was a bit grateful. And not just because we got to eat the pie all by ourselves. When I cut into it the next day, I realized just how under-baked it was. So much so that someone might have asked, “Is it supposed to be like this?” To which I would have had no answer. Happily, it was Friday, otherwise known as “Tweet with Tosi” Day! I was able to fire off a tweet to @momomilkbar and got an answer back:
— momofuku milk bar (@momomilkbar) November 30, 2013
Mine was very smooshy inside, so it was just perfect. Because it is so squishy, I think it’s best served cold out of the fridge. If it’s left out, the center gets a little runny.
Should I try this recipe? Yup! It’s super easy and the graham crust is just amazing.
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Should I buy the book? If you’re up to handling more complicated recipes as well, then it’s worth the investment. This is, by far, the easiest recipe I’ve found in the book and also requires virtually no oddball ingredients. The other recipes are much more complex and involve specialty ingredients. Read the Chocolate Chip Layer Cake post for more about why you might (or might not) want to get the book.
Momofuku Milk Bar
by Christina Tosi, foreword by David Chang
Retail List Price: $35.00
256 pages, hardcover
Clarkson Potter (October 2011)