Miss Fats is mid birthday rush this week. She has two “high seasons” for birthday cake baking–May and November–when she’s convinced a ton of parents got together and conspired to breed an entire generation of children born in the same week, spaced perfectly six months apart. 20-30 years later, Miss Fats is busy crafting three cakes in one week to celebrate all that Valentine love (gross) that bred an entire generation of pod people. ( i.e. her near and dear friends.)
Now, she began #birthdayweek (if it’s a conspiracy, it may as well have its own hashtag), with a classic birthday cake (a rare request!), but she’s going to save that post for later; because she is damn excited about the craziest of 30th birthdays “cakes” she put together this past weekend for her friend E’s bash. Meet the Wacky Crack Attack.
Miss Fats loves to bake for any crowd, however she has a couple of favorite individuals who she’s always eager to feed and please with decadent desserts. E is right at the top of the list thanks to his insatiable sweet tooth and affinity for seconds (that’s appreciation, people). She knew there was no way to get any specific flavor requests from him for the big day (he will eat anything and loves all things sweet), so Miss Fats just decided to dream up the most insane cake monster she could think of. Initially, she was gravitating toward an ice cream concoction, since he and Miss Fats have been known to venture far across the city in search of giant creamy cones. However there were already plans for frozen custard on the night of the celebration (double dessert. duh.); And she knew any old chocolate layer cake thing wouldn’t do. Not to mention it was E’s 30th and therefore required Miss Fats to kill him via sugar object. As you know, Miss Fats has got pie on the brain, and she had a recent conversation about the Momofuko Crack Pie that had been nagging at the back of her head for a couple of weeks now. That was it. Crack pie. The name and object were ideal for E: done and done.
But this is a birthday, people. And a big one. For an important friend. So Miss Fats could hardly stop there. So what does crack need? More crack, apparently. Something she adores about Momofuko’s pie is it’s complete and total acceptance of ugly. None of that prissy, fancy pants dessert garbage (all prim and proper: boo), but instead a total embrace of disgusting deliciousness: truly privileging taste over aesthetics. Naturally this meant Miss Fats wanted to extend this aesthetic to the cake (pie) topper. She decided to make excessive clusters of salty sweet goodness to mound on top of the ugly monster pie base to create a Frankensteinian sugar object capable of catapulting insulin levels and destroying any pancreas in its way. You can’t even imagine how excited she was.
This was Miss Fats first Momofuko recipe attempt and she knew they were notorious for being somewhat finicky and required great attention to detail. Therefore for the actual pie, she stuck straight to it and executed the body of the beast step for step, to the t. It was really that crack topping where she got to work on her salty-sweet craft, improvise and (literally) sculpt the perfect collection of morsels. So what goes into wacky crack, you ask? Well the short answer is: whatever the hell you want. This is really more of a method (methodology?) than a recipe. Miss Fats is going to share her mixture for you all, but she encourages you to get down and dirty with it: be creative: be cavalier.
wacky crack clusters:
makes about 2 cups of clusters
3 crunchy chocolate chip cookies (Miss Fats used Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Dunkers, but Chips Ahoy would also be good here)
3 peanut butter sandwich cookies (Nutter Butters)
1/4 cup honey roasted peanuts
1/2 cup pretzels (broken up a bit)
1 chopped candy bar (Miss Fats used a mini M&Ms bar she had on hand)
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup melted chocolate chips
1/4 cup melted peanut butter chips
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs water
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1. Make the caramel sauce: in a small sauce pan, heat the sugar and water over medium, carefully stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, turn the heat to medium high and DO NOT stir or take your eyes off it. Allow the sugar to caramelize and turn a deep amber (about 5-8 minutes), swirling the pan by the handle every so often. Once the caramel has deepened in color, remove from the heat and add the butter and cream (be careful: it will bubble rapidly). Stir until completely smooth. If it seizes up, return to medium low heat, and stir constantly until smooth. Add salt to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Cluster assembly: line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up). Throw down all of the dry cluster ingredients and roughly mix. Drizzle the caramel, chocolate and peanut butter over top. Toss together and roughly pat into a single layer of goodness. Drizzle another layer of caramel and chocolate over top and sprinkle with salt to make it nice and pretty. Allow to cool completely by either leaving it to harden on the counter, or sticking in the fridge for about an hour.
3. Once cool, break into large chunks and enjoy.
To top the pie, mound the clusters into any monstrous form you’d like. Donezo. Miss Fats’ wonderful roommates also created the perfect topper using some creative pen work and some printed off images of Grumpy Cat. Since E looks like grumpy cat with a mustache, it was the ideal expression of birthday affect for an aggressive dessert.
In the end, her pie wasn’t perfect (but should it be?). Her oven had some hot spots that caused the custard to bake slightly unevenly, and the crust baked a little more than she would have liked. However, anyone who’s executed this pie knows, the whole thing isn’t really meant to be eaten like a pie. Instead, the crack pie creates a salty sweet object that is to be scraped from the pan and consumed in a messy pile of all that is good in life. Yes people” the crust sticks to the pan. It sticks real bad. And she’s sure that one could do some serious greasing and throw down some parchment. But that would probably ruin part of the joy of crack pie: this is as much of an aesthetic–tactile–experience as it is about taste: embrace ugly. The crack clusters added a crazy crunchy layer to the chewy, creamy pie custard and cookie crust to make for a mouthful of all things good. This is some serious mouth porn. Pure dessert filth. She highly recommends it.
Between eight people, they only managed to get through half of the pie. It’s fucking intense. The rest was sent home in a glorious pile to be eaten while standing over the kitchen counter with a fork in hand. Probably in your underwear, at 3 am. Crack pie will definitely make it into Miss Fats’ recipe arsenal, but clearly must be accompanied by some sort of chocolate pretzel object. ( She feels no need to explain this. It’s self-evident that chocolate and pretzels make everything better.) She hopes E is enjoying his leftovers and that Wacky Crack Attack was all he could have dreamed of for his big birthday celebration. Or she hopes he’s dead of diabetic shock from pie overload. Either or.