The Pie Recipe So Addictive President Obama Calls It ‘Crack’

07/02/2014 at 01:16 PM ET

President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama 'Crack' Pie Recipe
Marcus Nilsson; Ramey

What makes White House pastry chef Bill Yosses‘ pie crusts so addictive that President Obama, who calls Yosses the “Crustmaster,” joked Monday they must be spiked with crack cocaine? Turns out, it’s a lot of butter. And lard. And cream.

At Monday’s LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House, Obama saluted the retiring Yosses — and blamed him. “His pies — I don’t know what he does, whether he puts crack in them,” joked Obama. “I’m just saying that when we first came to the White House…the first year, my cholesterol shot up. And the doctor was like, ‘What happened?'”

“…And I thought, it’s the pie! It’s the pie.”

For the record, First Lady Michelle Obama, laughing, chimed in: “There is no crack in our pies.”

And, as if to prove it, Yosses agreed to share with PEOPLE one of his favorite recipes from his 2010 cookbook, The Perfect Finish.

Flaky Nectarine Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie to serve 8

20 tbsp. (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
7 tbsp. heavy cream
3 tbsp. rendered lard (or use more butter)
3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling the dough
3 tsp. granulated sugar
1¼ tsp. salt

8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. brandy
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg white, beaten, at room temperature
1½ tsp. granulated sugar

For the Crust
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream, and lard until smooth. In another bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter and beat until the mixture comes together like a fairly wet dough. Add the remaining flour and mix until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and gently knead it into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap, and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (or up to 3 days).

For the Filling
1. In a large bowl, toss together the nectarines and lemon juice. Add the sugars and the salt, and gently mix to combine without mashing the nectarine chunks. Set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.

2. Return the nectarines to the bowl and add the cornstarch, mixing until it has completely dissolved. Stir in the brandy and vanilla. Reserve.

To Assemble and Bake
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out both disks of dough to a 1/4-inch thickness and fold in half. Then re-roll to rounds about 12 inches in diameter and 3/16 inch thick (about the thickness of two quarters). This will create the layers of flakiness in your pie dough. Transfer one round of dough to a black steel or Pyrex 9-inch pie pan, and trim the edges so they are even with the rim of the pie pan. Place the second round on a flat baking sheet and put it in the freezer. This will become the top of the pie.

2. Freeze the dough in the pie pan for 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the pie pan from the freezer and line the dough with aluminum foil. Fill with baking beads, dried beans, or uncooked rice. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. When cool, preheat the oven again to 350°F.

3. Pour the nectarine filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Use a pastry brush to moisten the edges of the bottom pie crust with some of the egg white. Remove the top dough from the freezer and place over the fruit. Press down around the edges with your fingers to seal and tuck any excess dough under the edges. With a paring knife, cut 12 slits in the center of the raw dough, barely piercing it, to create air vents. Then, brush the top dough with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with Demerara or granulated sugar.

4. Bake on an aluminum-foil-covered rimmed 11-by-17-inch baking sheet on the center rack until the pie is deeply golden and you can see the thick juices bubbling through the vent, for 1 hour. Let cool before serving.

President Obama's Favorite 'Crack' Pie Recipe
Marcus Nilsson; Charles Dharapak/AP

—Sandra Sobieraj Westfall

Reprinted from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2010 by Bill Yosses. Photographs copyright © 2010 by Marcus Nilsson. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Showing 47 comments

Samm on

How many nectarines?? They aren’t on the list for the filling … ??


Looks delicious! I am not seeing how many nectarines to use in the recipe, however. Can someone please clarify this?

Tina on

Guess we have to buy the cookbook for how many nectarines!!

discountdana on

Samm, I had to look it up online since you’re right and it is NOT included in the article. You’d think nectarines would be listed in a Nectarine pie!

Anyways…looks like 8 cups (about 7 ripe nectarines), unpeeled, pitted and cut into chunks that are 1 inch.

Lisa on


8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

(Had to do a search and found it on books(dot)google(dot)com).

Rose Adas on

In the recipe it is missing the quantity of nectarines to use in this pie.

Kathy on


Kathy on

Thank you Lisa!

Tina on

thank you

Anonymous on

8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks

jenfun on

8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks

Janette on

Amazing ‘real food’ recipe – finally! Thanks! Looks delicious!

Sandra on

It’s there:
8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks

wm on

It states in the recipe, 8 cups nectarines (about 7).

ljjf on

It states right on this recipes how many nectarines. I believe this taste alot like peach pie. Going to try it.

TLM on

Probably missing the nectarines because
#1 It is nectarine pie and its OBVIOUS you need nectarines
#2 for pie you always use the amount needed to fill it to your desired amount of fill. All nectarines are different sizes.

Sarah S. on

Anyone know of a non-alcohol substitution for brandy? Thanks!

Marilyn on

Michelle O. recommends banning party cupcakes for schools. A Seattle school is complying and she eats desserts made by the W.H. pastry chef? Typical do as I say, not as I do attitude. She wasn’t elected to anything so what she says shouldn’t matter. Lord knows she stuffs her mouth with anything in sight.

Melissa on

Don’t forget the crack.

Go Marilyn on

You’re right Marilyn! Seems hypocritical!

Deborah on

Marilyn, no need to make nasty comments about the First Lady , Michelle Obama. She doesn’t have a weight problem. She works out & watches what she eats. It’s ok to have a “cheat” day once a week. I think it’s wonderful she is concerned about childhood obesity, it’s obvious parents aren’t giving their kids good role models. Adult obesity is just as bad in this country. If Parents were stepping up, fast food chains would either go out of business or step up & change what they put on their menu & into their food.

Deborah on

After the crust ingredients are the filling ingredients. Nectarines are “first” on the list of filling ingredients in this article. 8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted & cut into 1inch chunks. 2nd, 1Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice. & so on……

Lisa on

For those commenting later who haven’t recognized the obvious, when the article was first posted they did NOT list nectarines anywhere. And TLM was wrong by ASSuming you just add “whatever” amount it takes to fill your pie plate. Pie plates come in different sizes–the amount of nectarines depends on the amount of the other ingredients, genius.

People(dot)com helpfully corrected the recipe and posted the amount of nectarines needed for the pie once it was pointed out the information had been left out.

Carolyn on

Im not a fan of the Obama’s politically, but no one can say that they are overweight. Everyone deserves a sweet treat once in awhile.

Anna on

This recipe looks fabulous!!

Just want to point out @Marilyn: MO wasn’t elected… Her husband was…

ImALadyToo on

Yeah, that’s what I want to hear the leader of our country say…….how embarrassing.

redhot on

worst potus in US history

Anonymous on

Thanks people for putting his quote in. Way to stay classy. I thought I was reading TMZ. I think I will stop reading this trash now.

Elizabeth on

Really, you can’t just enjoy a recipe from a White House chef? You have to try to insert a political comment about the First Lady, save your comments and use your right to vote.

Terri on

@Samm, it’s the first thing listed under Filling:
“8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks”

jam on

Your all wrong its 1 cup crack.!!!!!!

buffyprincess on

Well, he would know.

Al Schrader on

I’ve prepared food for Hillary Clinton, Rudi Guiliani, Faith Hill, etcetera. The secret to the crust is the heavy cream and one stick of butter per cup of flour (lots of fat).
But, you can also obtain a “fat” flour that makes it even more addictive. My source for the fat flour is a wheat farm in Pennsylvania.

Guest on

Obama is keeping it klassy as usual.

NH on

VERY VERY poor choice of comparison,
Mr. President !! Even if you were just joking,
And I’m pretty sure you were, you have 2 teenage daughters
and are supposed to be a role model .
There are plenty of other things you could have compared to
This delicious sounding pie.

John on

Rendered lard is pig fat. Disgusting. Pigs are intelligent animals and there’s no need to kill them and render their fat to made a freakin’ pie.

Amanda on

My daughter just made this pie and it’s absolutely delicious! A lot of steps for a fruit pie, IMHO, but worth it. Lovely.
***Tip***we found that 8 cups of nectarines yielded too much filling for a 9-inch pie plate! If you don’t have quite enough nectarines anyhow, you might want to aim for around 6 cups of fruit.

Anonymous on

Why can’t this recipe be printed?

stepstest on

Just made this pie. Although the crust tastes great, the filling is horrible. Tastes kind of like peach cough syrup. The recipe should state that the nectarines should be peeled.

Janie on

I wanted to try this crust because it sounded soooo good. So far… so bad. The crust just melts in your hands while you are trying to make it. I hesitate to add more flour because of flaky aspect. But this was so messy to work with, I’d rather go back to my old faithful crust and use it with the nectarines.

krista on

So… this was the first pie I’ve ever made so I can’t say I was expecting perfection. Especially since I’m honestly not the best baker. But let me tell you. Not only am I impressed with myself, but my husband and I agree that this is THE best pie we’ve ever eaten. It’s sweet, tangy, buttery, literally crack in a pie dish.

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John on

Maybe Obama comparing the pie to crack is a legitimate comparison, I mean, I am sure they sell crack in Hawaii too.

Fredericka Fluetsch on

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Donte Aversano on

Very smooth article. I certainly like this website. Keep it up!

Cynthia Artman on

Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


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