Saturday, January 21, 2012

Krispy Pops

Miss Thing has a July birthday.  While there are many benefits to having a summer birthday, there are a few fallbacks as well.  For those with a summer birthday, there is not the same excitement of having the whole class sing happy birthday, of the special birthday treat, of having that "special day" with the entire school. 

Fortuntely for those with a summer birthday, it means that you have a winter half birthday.  Now, I admit that I have not always been the most diligent mom when it comes to half birthdays.  I'm pretty sure I remembered last year to bring something in.  But I think that was my first time.

This year, Miss Thing requested that she can bring in a treat, so how could I refuse?  Her classroom is a restricted one - no nuts, no eggs.  I've been using my "crazy cake" recipe (no eggs, no dairy) cake for so long for her school events that I'm getting tired of making it.  Let alone I have dug myself into a bit of a hole with the complex constructions of some of my previous cakes.

So this year, it was something simple.  Rice crispy treats.  Sticks.  Chocolate.  Sprinkles. 

Start with your basic rice crispy treat.  I try and pack them down a bit as well.  You want some strength to your treat.  Then, spread a thin coat of chocolate on the back for structure and strength.  Homemade rice crispy treats can get a little flaccid or bendable at times.  You do not want that in a pop.

 Now, about that stick....  Rice crispy treats are not exactly the most stable, and while a stick should stay in, it is best to apply reinforcements.  Before placing that stick in the rice crispy treat, go ahead and dip it in chocolate first.  That way, the stick will be cemented inside the treat.

Drizzle the other side with more chocolate and top with sprinkles.   A sugar filled treat fit for a princess.  On a stick.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crack pie

I'm in denial.  I'm pretty sure if I ignore the date of my last post, I won't feel like quite as much of a loser.

Now, back to the food. 

I'm a little behind the times with Crack Pie.  It's been talked about in so many places (just to begin).  I remember seeing the first recipe show up in Bon Appetit in 2010 from Momfuku Milk Bar's pastry chef Christina Tosi and was intrigued, but not overwhelmed with the desire to make it.  I'm more of a chocolate girl myself, and well, this didn't have chocolate in it, and really didn't seem like it needed chocolate.  If you aren't familiar with this dessert, it's described as a salty/sweet oatmeal cookie crust with a gooey buttery center.

However this past weekend, my brother-in-law was bringing his new girlfriend over and I thought it might be nice to have a little dessert to break the ice.  I wanted to do something different.  With kids around brownies tend to be go-to sweet bite, but it gets boring.  A friend had recently posted her success with crack pie, so I figured I'd give it a go as well.

My one concern about the recipe was the sweetness.  I read a lot of reviews discussing how overpoweringly sweet the pie is.  And as much as I try to follow a recipe exactly the first time, looking at the crust, I knew that I didn't have time to bake a cookie just to make a cookie crust.  However, I have a good pat-in-the-pan oatmeal cookie crust that looked remarkably similar (it's the same crust I use for caramel cashew bars).
We let it cool and decided that I couldn't wait until brother-in-law and said girlfriend came over.  We decided that we would just sliver one of the two tarts.  Just to see how it tasted.  We would still have one full and pretty tart to cut into, and no one would be the wiser.

Before the guests got here, we had finished the whole tart.  One tiny sliver at a time.

The irony is that the new girlfriend (in whose honor I made the tart) didn't want any due to a diet.

Crack Pie (with an adapted crust)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus a pinch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus a pinch)
  • 10 tbls butter (very cold)
Put flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in a food processor.  Pulse in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Pour mixture into bowl and work in oats using hands.
Pat crumbs into pan (I used two 5 inch tart pans, but the recipe is designed for a 10 inch pie, so there may be some crumbs left over).
Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust starts to turn golden brown and is set.

NOTE ABOUT CRUST:  This crust may make a little more than a 10 inch pie pan

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light 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)
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. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.