Gluten-dairy-free Milk Bar Mondays Brownie Pie Love…
Sometimes inspiration for making something sweet comes from a new pan or a road trip to someplace spooky with friends. And sometimes it comes from a group of ladies you’ve met via the interweb, and have agreed to bake your way through a cookbook with!
I’m tickled pink that the Milk Bar Mondays ladies are back after a hiatus so that we could take care of a few small things; members moving and graduating college and having babies, the little beautiful details of life like that! Every time I get wiped from the mess of internet madness that makes me want to head for the hills — where wifi and mobile service are replaced by oak trees and crickets — I stumble upon the picture of one of my beautiful lady friends with their growing belly, or growing child, or growing dreams, and my heart fills up and I am so thankful to this crazy bit of technology that’s helped me find such talented, lovely people.
And together it’s brought us on a trippy journey, baking our way through Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, me adapting as I can to fit my dietary needs. We’ve had some incredibly yummy ones — the Compost Cookies I can’t stop making, the decadent Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake that sent me swooning, the Blueberry and “Cream” and Chocolate-Chocolate cookies and Birthday Layer Cake and Chevre Frozen Yogurt with Beet-Lime Ganache… love.
And here we are again, with a dangerously rich chocolate Brownie Pie nestled in a graham crust. And, for you and moi, this version is gluten and dairy free.
Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake
I interview chefs weekly for Serious Eats, a national website that covers restaurants, bars, recipes and events. Lately the subject of diminishing pastry chefs and departments has come up a bit, most prominently with Lauren Resler, a pastry chef I adore who turns out layered, whimsical desserts for her restaurants, Empellon Taqueria and Empellon Cocina here in NYC (if you haven’t been – go!).
I’ve questioned many a pastry chef as to who they think the next “it” chef of their generation would be; a Michael Laiskonis, Johnny Iuzzini or Alex Stupak on the rise. Many of the chefs I’ve asked say something simple needs to be done: someone needs to focus on reinventing classics with a deeply personal twist, something old but incredibly new as well.
As I adapted Christina Tosi’s Chocolate Malt Layer Cake into a version us gluten-free eaters can enjoy, I realized that Tosi may just be that chef. Granted I’ve never eaten one of her desserts, as they’re all loaded with gluten and dairy. But as the Milk Bar Mondays ladies and I have baked our way through her cookbook, I see that she’s doing exactly what we want someone to be doing: elevating classics into something so over the top that, like pastry chef Stephen Collucci said when trying her Cereal Milk Ice Cream, “it’s so good it’s stupid”.
This cake is so good it’s stupid.
I’m on my 10th straight day of cooking in the Hamptons. I’m a sweaty, tired mess of a happy person. I am so sick of cooking food… until I make something that delights me and the people I work for. Then I remind myself that it’s pretty cool that I get paid (well) to cook food, which I love to do anyway.
Somehow in the insanity that is workdays that begin at 7pm and don’t end until 14 hours later, I was able to make this pie, today’s Milk Bar Mondays group recipe. Actually, I was able to squeeze in two pies in the two days, because this one didn’t quite work out. It also happens to be for a swap set for today, so check out my second grapefruit pie for the Burwell Recipe Swap: Grapefruit Sponge Pie!
Being that I’m not home with my arsenal of alternative ingredients and the family I work for doesn’t have any sensitivies, I figured this swap was a good chance to do a Tosi recipe as written and enjoy working straight from the book, as we don’t substitute unless absolutely necessary.
But then… Continue reading