Dessert

We Tried the Crack Pie from Milk Bar’s Dallas Pop-Up ... and Damn

Milk Bar's crack pie
Milk Bar's crack pie Lauren Drewes Daniels

We’re pie people. Birthdays often call for a pie rather than a cake. Thanksgiving is an absolute pie bonanza. We’ve gone through our fair share of mixers and have a decade of pies forever encrusted to the bottom of the oven. And I’ve made the famed "Crack Pie" or Milk Bar Pie, as it was renamed a few years ago, by chef Christina Tosi of Milk Bar. It was really good, but didn't have anything, like the real thing, to compare it to.

Crack Pie had a humble beginning. Tosi worked at Chef David Chang’s Momofuku and brought it to work for the staff meal one day. Soon, she had her own spot, Milk Bar. It’s a simple recipe, really: an oatmeal cookie crust (made from scratch with real butter) with a deceptively simple filling of butter, sugar, light brown sugar, salt, milk powder, heavy cream and egg yolks.

So, we were curious, yet mildly skeptical, to hear from Eater Dallas that Milk Bar was having a Dallas pop-up this week. These pies are only available by delivery, which makes it feel like more of a ghost kitchen than pop-up. Not that it matters, but, actually, it does; there have been a spate of restaurants backed by famous chefs working out of other restaurants’ kitchens, delivering meals without much thought given to the actual food.

Using UberEats, we ordered one Crack Pie on Wednesday afternoon that arrived at our door in less than an hour for only $60. (The pie is $50 on the menu, but then fees and tips on top of that took ours to about $60.) Granted we’d never pay that much for a pie on a normal day, but … journalism.

The securely packaged paper bag came with a sweet handwritten note that they "love this for me." Aww.

I put my hand on the bottom of the pie, and it gave off no warmth at all. Then, machine-grade cellophane wrapping around the orb increased skepticism — we just spent a lot on this little pie, and it better not be boring sad pie.

click to enlarge LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Lauren Drewes Daniels
It. Is. Not.

It’s foul language good. And that's not a metaphor; three out of three adults cursed the second after they took a bite. Maybe that’s how crack works. I don’t know. But this pie is a beautiful golden brown goddess. It’s deceivingly dense; like a blondie or brownie consistency. Everything about it is deceiving. Nothing about it says, “Hold on to your pants because I’m about to amaze your pie hole!” But, that’s exactly what happened.

The oatmeal cookie crust holds all that butter sugar and egg together in beautiful harmony. Maybe give the recipe a try. But, then also buy one so you know what it tastes like.

The Milk Bar pop-up continues through May 31. Use your preferred delivery app to order. There are only five things on the menu: birthday cake ($55), strawberry shortcake ($59.40) or a dozen birthday day cake or strawberry shortcake truffles ($26.40). 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.