'Momofuku Milk Bar': Baking desserts with an edge
The cookie, pie and cake recipes in Christina Tosi's 'Momofuku Milk Bar' taste as good as the sweets at the New York bakery.
Brownie pie (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / November 16, 2011)
The truth is, I think I take a lot more pleasure out of baking from the book than I ever did from stopping by the East Village bakery in New York. Maybe at least partly because these home-baked versions come with a dose of accomplishment, a testament to the recipes: The sweets turn out as good as the bakery's. (This season I tested two other baking books whose recipes did not live up to expectations, and nothing's worse than feeling defeated by a baking sheet full of cookies.)
Tosi's desserts, for the most part, are homey recipes with an edge: cakes, cookies, pies and ice creams tweaked with ingredients such as corn flour or milk powder or char-blackened marshmallows or even kimchi. I keep returning to the chapter on "the crumb," described as "clumpy, crunchy, yet sandy little bits of flavor" that turn up as the crust for pies and as added texture in cookies and cakes. The chocolate-chocolate cookies are made with melted chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate crumb, for instance.
The brownie pie's got a graham cracker crumb crust and dense, fudgy filling, a cross between molten chocolate cake and gooey brownies. A crowd pleaser, obviously.
"Momofuku Milk Bar" by Christina Tosi, Clarkson Potter, $35.
Total time: About 1 hour, plus cooling time for the pie
Servings: Makes 1 (10-inch) pie, serves 8 to 10
Note: Adapted from "Momofuku Milk Bar" by Christina Tosi.
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 graham crackers
1/4 cup (20 grams) milk powder
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 55 grams) butter, melted
1/4 cup (55 grams) heavy cream
1. In a medium bowl, toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute the dry ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and add it to the mixture.