I’ve never been a fan of trying to recreate my favorite childhood snack foods in my own kitchen. If I’m in the mood for Twinkies and Oreos, I’m just going to buy myself some Twinkies and Oreos. I do not need to be wasting valuable time gathering ingredients, making doughs, baking, filling, and all that jazz just to shove a few dozen cookies into my mouth. If I’m spending the day in the kitchen, I’m going to make something that at least looks somewhat impressive —like butternut squash pavlova or pig cookies—so I can make a big deal showing it off on Instagram before I shove it into my mouth. Snack foods are specifically designed not to impress you. Snack foods are designed to get in there and get the job done.
The one exception I make is for Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Creme Pies. Why? Because it might actually be easier to make this pie than to put on pants and head over to the store. It’s a pantry pie, meaning that I almost always have the ingredients needed to whip it up. And it’s a little less sweet than Little Debbie’s pies, which is a good thing because I really shouldn’t be eating all that sugar. My doctor told me that I need to start eating more oatmeal to lower my cholesterol, but I told myself I need to eat at least two pies a week to reduce my current stress levels. This oatmeal creme pie is pretty much the perfect baking project for these crazy times.
This pie has no crust because it doesn’t need one: there’s lots of toasty oats in every bite to satiate your carb cravings. The whole thing can be stirred together in a big bowl with a spoon, so you don’t even need to break out a mixer unless you want to make the homemade marshmallow creme for the topping. I know that making homemade marshmallow anything seems like a challenge for a lot of novice bakers, but I swear to you that this recipe—provided you’re down for a good upper arm workout—is practically foolproof. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, just spread store-bought marshmallow fluff on top, or pile on some mini marshmallows and slide under the broiler for a gooey, toasty topping.
If you have more self-control than I do and would like to spread your consumption of this pie over several days, or if you’re the type of person who might need an emergency 3 a.m. pie to cope with the occasional night terror, you’ll be happy to know that this pie freezes wonderfully. Cut it into slices, wrap each in plastic, and shove them in the back of the ol’ icebox for emergencies. If you can’t bear to wait the 45 seconds it takes to thaw a slice in the microwave, you can eat it frozen and it won’t break your teeth. This pie exists to be there when you need it: it’s unbelievably easy, insanely delicious, makes you feel like a kid again, and, most importantly, it gets the job done. This pie wants to help, and I promise it will not let you down
For the pie
- 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp. molasses
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
For the toasted marshmallow cream
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. powdered gelatin
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toast the oats in a skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until pleasantly fragrant, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the corn syrup, molasses, and water in a small saucepan and cook on medium low until steamy.
In a large bowl, whisk together the potato starch, brown sugar, kosher salt, and cinnamon until combined, then whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream (or evaporated milk), and vanilla until completely smooth. Stir in the hot butter mixture and toasted oats, then pour into a 10" pie pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is just set. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Next, make the toasted marshmallow creme. Stir together the gelatin with one tablespoon of water in a small cup and set aside. Fill a large saucepan with two inches of water; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
Put the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer, then set that bowl over the pan of simmering water. Set a timer for 5 minutes and begin whisking vigorously, switching arms every 30 seconds so you don’t tire yourself out. When the timer goes off stir in the gelatin, then put the bowl on a stand mixer affixed with the whisk attachment and turn to medium-high until the meringue is thick like whipped cream. Add the salt and vanilla. Whisk for another 15 seconds to combine.
Pour the marshmallow creme over the oatmeal pie and spread it out with an offset spatula; let sit for 5 minutes. Turn the broiler to high, then slide the pie underneath it, keeping a constant eye on it until it’s as brown as you’d like. (This can be anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute, so seriously, do not take your eyes off it.)