I had a dream the other night that I had a cake to deliver in the morning. It was in the refrigerator and someone placed a heavy plate on top of it. And squished it.
I told my husband about the dream and his response was: I bet it was me in your dream. And then he laughed at me. He clearly does not understand the amount of stress baking disaster dreams have on me and, no, it was not him in my dream.
A better dream is the one I've been having about Milkbar’s crack pie. I made it earlier this fall and wish every day for a slice to appear in front of me at 2PM. Sadly, this wish has yet to come true.
But luckily for me, I’ve had a few bites of the pie every evening for the last week as I’ve been playing around with how to make it a bit more festive. I tried apples and molasses and ginger and oats. Don’t get me wrong, they all tasted good…sometimes the fork in my right hand forced me to eat multiple slices of each version to determine how much I didn’t like it.
My favorite variation is the one I filled with a cooked cranberry mixture and topped with a molasses cookie crumble. It is sweet and tart and when you eat it from a ramekin you feel less gluttonous. Right?
Mini Cranberry Crack Pies
adapted from Milkbar
90g light brown sugar
10g milk powder
3/4 tsp salt
113g (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
80g (1/3 cup + 1tbsp) heavy cream
4 egg yolks
255g frozen cranberries
Molasses Cookie Topping
130g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
56g (1/2 stick) butter, room temp
105g brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Make the filling: Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low until evenly blended.
Add the melted butter and mix for 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the egg yolks unit just combined (do not overmix the filling, simply mix until it is glossy).
Make the cranberries: Combine ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook on low to medium heat until the water has evaporated and the cranberries have popped and broken down a bit (~10 minutes). Let mixture cool.
Assemble: Preheat oven to 350°. Fill each ramekin about 1/2 way with the sugar and cream filling. Drop in 1-2 tbsp of the cranberries (amount will depend on size of ramekin) and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce temp to 325° for another 10 minutes. Filling will be very jiggly but will thicken once it cools.
Once you remove the ramekins from the oven, let them cool for about 15-30 minutes. Cover the ramekins in plastic and place them in the refrigerator or freezer for three hours or more to thicken. Sprinkle as much of the cookie topping on each ramekin as you desire (recipe below).
Keep the dessert in the refrigerator (or freezer) until ready to eat.
Make the cookie topping: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes).
Add the oil, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Beat in the flour mixture until well incorporated.
Spray a sheet pan and line with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. Using a spatula or your hands, spread the cookie dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Let cool completely. Break giant cookie into large chunks or place those chunks into a food processor with a one tablespoon of melted butter and pulse to get a finer finish.