## Wednesday, March 14, 2012

### π Cracking Pie

Pi (π) is an irrational number, which means that its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction; its decimal representation never ends and never repeats. Pi is also a transcendental number meaning that no finite sequence of algebraic operations can determine its value.

Scientists have studied the properties of pi for the last four centuries. In October 2011, Alexander Yee and Shigeru Kondo computed π to 10 trillion digits, while the contributors of “Cracking Pi,” are exploring the nature of pi and its relationship to gravity. “Cracking Pi” is an in-depth study of randomness using the unique methodology known as "action at a distance.

For those of us who do not have advanced degrees in Physics or Game Theory, perhaps a better way to celebrate our fascination with the world’s most popular mathematical concept is with a delicious pie… a crack pie that is.

Based on the best-selling dessert from New York’s famous Momofuku Milk Bar, this rich, sweet and salty pie with its oat cookie crust is truly like crack to an addict. Because Dom’s favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin, we added cinnamon and raisins to ours.

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 cup old-fashioned oats*
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon (generous) salt
• 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line in cookie sheet with parchment paper; coat 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; 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.

Oatmeal Pie Crust:
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

Using your hands, crumble the oat cookie into large bowl and then add butter and 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.

Crack filling:
• ¼ cup raisins (optional)
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon (for dusting)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Arrange raisins in a layer on the bottom of the pie shell.

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 over raisins. Bake pie for 30 minutes (filling should be beginning to bubble,) and then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Continue to bake pie about 20 minutes longer until the filling is brown in spots and set around the edges. The center should still move slightly when pie dish is gently shaken. Cool the pie for 2 hours in pie dish on rack. The filling will fully set as it cools. Chill the pie uncovered before serving or overnight. Dust with powdered cinnamon sugar before serving.

*You can use quick oats as a substitute for old-fashioned oats. Old-fashioned oats will give you a chewier texture, and quick oats will result in a more homogenous consistency with slightly less chew, but will still have the same flavor. It's really personal preference which one you like better for baking.

Yum

Jessie Garrett said...

My brother made me try this pie when I was in New York. It is unbelievable! So glad to finally have the recipe. Thanks for posting it.

Amy said...

this sounds delicious & I like the introduction to this recipe....

Cathleen said...

Haha, yay! Someone else who celebrated pi(e) day with a pie! (Well, mine was a `whoopie`pie. Almost the same thing) This looks great!