Monday, November 23, 2009

Crackers and Crumbs

Specifically graham cracker crumb crusts. For pies and cheesecakes. Does everyone know how to make a basic graham cracker crust? I thought I did -- for years. It was super easy. You went to the grocery store straight to the baking aisle and you bought one from Keebler. And, while I've still been known to do that in a pinch, there are drawbacks. First, the tin they come in is so thin that when you slice the pie, you often slice right through to the countertop. Bummer.

So, I thought I'd give you some basic, starting off recipes for graham cracker and other assorted crumb crusts that you can make from scratch. They are simple and inexpensive.

All you need to do is combine the ingredients and then press them onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased pie tin. Also, depending on what type of dessert you are planning, you then either bake the crust for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees and let it cool before filling it, or you chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. NOTE: if you are making a cheesecake, you will need to increase the proportions accordingly, depending on if you are using an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan.

To press the crust into the pie tin, I use the flat side of my measuring cups.

For a Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups (about 24 squares) graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C sugar
1/3 C butter, melted

For a Chocolate Wafer Crust:
1 1/4 C chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter, melted

For a Vanilla Wafer Crust:
1 1/2 cups (about 30 cookies) wafer cookie crumbs
1/4 C butter, melted

For a Gingersnap Crust:
1 1/2 C gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/4 C butter, melted

For an Oreo Cookie Crust:
1 1/2 C Oreos (about 15 cookies)
1/4 C butter, melted

This is just meant to be a starting off point for you. You can add other ingredients as well to vary the flavors. For example, when I make a gingersnap crust, I often reduce the amount of gingersnap crumbs by 1/4 C and add 1/4 C of finely chopped pecans. Also, when making a crust for cheesecake, I will add finely chopped almonds and reduce the amount of graham crackers crumbs accordingly.

For Sunday dinner this week, I made a Chocolate Mint Cream Pie with an Oreo Crumb Crust. It was a quickie pie. Didn't get a photo until I only had one slice left. The picture isn't great, but at least it gives you the idea of how it looked.

Chocolate Mint Cream Pie
1/2 C cold milk (I used whole)
1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding
2 3/4 C whipped topping, divided
1 pkg. (4.7 oz) Andes mint candies, chopped fine and divided
1/4 tsp mint extract
2 drops green food coloring
recipe for 1 Oreo crumb crust

Make the crumb crust and press into pie tin. Chill in refrigerator while you continue with the recipe.

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 3/4 C whipped topping until well combined. Fold in 3/4 C mint candies.

In another bowl, combine extract and remaining whipped topping; add food coloring and stir well until no streaks of green remain. Spoon pudding mixture into prepared crust. Spreak whipped topping mixture over pudding layer; sprinkle top of pie with remaining mint candies. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

No comments: