Friday, November 4, 2011

Vietnamese Coffee Crack Pie

Having heard so much about Momofuku's infamous crack pie, I decided I'd make it for a recent bookclub dinner.  Essentially a variation of chess pie, Christina Tosi's crack pie is a rich, extremely sweet dessert; click on the recipe for it and a rash of links to diabetes control and information websites appear.  Had Jerry Garcia survived the heroin, this would have been his demise.  Give an eight-year old a suggested serving sized slice of this and pull him down from the ceiling eight hours later.


Reading the recipe for crack pie, I thought it seemed sweeter than something I would normally choose.  Still, I didn't want to just say no. I made Tosi's crack pie following her recipe verbatim.  It produced a luscious, enticing pie that everyone else in the bookclub enjoyed.  However, it was too sweet for my taste.  I loved the crust and the filling was wonderfully creamy and silky, but it was like mainlining sugar.

In as much I drink my coffee straight--black, no sugar, no milk--I still had some sweetened condensed milk in the fridge from making the Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream.  Hoping to make a pie that had the silkiness of Tosi's filling without quite so much sweetness, I decided to try a coffee flavored version of crack pie using the sweetened condensed milk.  The milk substituted for the cream and white sugar called for in the original recipe.

Vietnamese Coffee Crack Pie
printable recipe

1 prepared crust following Tosi's recipe
(I used a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom)


3 1/2 oz light brown sugar (about 7 TBS)
1/8 tsp salt
a scant 3 TBS milk powder
1/2 cup (1 cube) melted butter
1/4 cup espresso or strongly brewed coffee
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 large beaten egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat the oven to 350º F.  Place the pan with prepared pie crust on a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, milk powder, butter, espresso, and sweetened condensed milk until you have a fairly homogenous mixture.  Gently whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla without whisking in too much air.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350º, then lower the temperature to 325º and bake until filling is just slightly wobbly.  This took around 15 to 20 minutes for the coffee filling, which has more liquid than Tosi's original filling. When done, remove and cool on a rack.

Refrigerate for several hours.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Slice and serve.
Tosi's recipe says each pie makes 6 to 8 servings.  I'd suggest 12 slices per pie.


  1. So... you left out the most important piece of information. Was it DELICIOUS? I'd love to make it for my fam it gets your seal of approval.

  2. Cathy,
    While I think everyone in the bookclub enjoyed the original, I think they liked this version even more. Give it a try and let me know if your family like it.

  3. My crack pie is in the oven!!!


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