Who among us has not baked a pie/tart/cheesecake/bar with a graham cracker crust? Though there are plenty of other perfectly good pastry crusts out there, the graham crust is one of the tastiest, easiest, and most versatile crusts in existence– no pie dough to fuss with, no blind baking with pie weights. Perhaps most importantly, it has a warm, buttery flavor synonymous with comfort dessert!
Your typical graham cracker crust generally consists of cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt. This particular graham crust is special. It was created by Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City, one of the most creative, innovative, and exciting bakeries that is constantly redefining the rules of baking science. They use graham crust not only on the bottom of pies, but also as a mix-in for cookies, a base for frosting and ganache, and an ice cream flavor– Milk Bar’s creativity knows no end! Some of my personal favorite applications of this crust are:
- Bottom crust for s’mores cupcakes
- Bottom crust for cheesecake
- Brownie Pie (Momofuku Milk Bar – photo above!)
- Compost Cookies (Momofuku Milk Bar)
- Graham Frosting (Momofuku Milk Bar)
What sets this graham cracker crust recipe apart is the addition of two secret ingredients: heavy cream and milk powder. They lend a rich, milky flavor to the crust that takes it to new and uncharted graham-tastic heights. Try this recipe in place of your regular graham cracker crust– I would bet money you’ll never go back. (I know I won’t!)
Sometimes I make it just because it’s a good idea, and it gets eaten with a fork before I use it for anything. Yes, it *is* that good.
Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook
Makes about 2 cups
- 190 grams (1 ½ cups) graham cracker crumbs
- 20 grams (¼ cup) milk powder
- 25 grams (2 Tbsp.) granulated sugar
- 3 grams (¾ tsp.) kosher salt
- 55 grams (4 Tbsp. or ½ stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 55 grams (¼ cup) heavy cream
Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands or a whisk in a medium bowl until evenly combined.
Whisk the butter and heavy cream together in a microwavable measuring cup. If the butter clumps up when mixed with the cold cream, pop the cup into the microwave for about 10 seconds, or as needed, and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the butter/cream mixture into your bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a spatula, wooden spoon, or your hands to distribute evenly. (A whisk works okay, though the wet crumbs will get caught in-between the wires… Uhh, pay no attention to the whisk in the photo….)
The mixture will look like wet, chunky sand, and it should hold its shape if you squeeze a small amount tightly in your hand. If it’s too dry to stick together, mix in another 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter. If it’s too wet to hold its shape, add a couple more tablespoons of graham crackers until it firms up.
Use as directed in the recipe of your choice… or go ahead and bust out your fork. If you plan to mold or shape the crust, it is easiest to do so immediately after making it, as it will firm up a bit when the butter re-hardens. It can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge/freezer. (Not that will it last that long…)
- You can make graham cracker crumbs by simply processing whole crackers in a food processor, or you can purchase pre-processed crumbs. Personally, I think they taste fresher (and they’re less expensive) when I grind them down myself.
- As with most Milk Bar recipes, I recommend weighing your ingredients whenever possible, as there is sometimes a significant discrepancy between weight and volume, though I don’t bother weighing butter or fractions of teaspoons/tablespoons.
Check out my Valentine’s Sweetheart Cheesecakes for a fun and colorful way to use this crust!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2013.