Last night in an online book group, I was asked what is the simplest crust to make. This is a question I am often asked and without a doubt the one that I suggest is a press-in crust made with cookie-like things…you know, cookies, wafers, crisp biscuits, or graham crackers. Press-in crusts are quick and easy, delicious, stress-free and pretty fun to make, too. If you are having a less than great day, buzz your troubles away in the food processor or really get into it and roll them out fine with your rolling pin. I opt for cookies and biscuits that are more on the crisp-side like vanilla or chocolate wafers, ginger snaps, and graham crackers, and I have made crusts with sandwich cookies without scraping off the filling. Really! I just throw the cookies in, filling and all, and go on with this recipe.
When you press in the “dough” do your best to try to get an even depth on both bottom and sides, paying extra attention to the curve in the “corner” of the pie pan…you know that place where the sides and the bottom meet, and it is super important to press in firmly. I have found that a longish “curing time” of the finished pie (most often in the fridge) really helps this crust to set and pieces of pie slice more easily, but if you find that it just ain’t going to happen that day you can join me in doing a little dance.
I know you are totally thinking that she’s gone completely off her pie rocker now. But, I have always found these words, from a much loved piece of art of which I am so lucky to have been gifted the original, to be inspiring.
So, now that we’re dancing…and hopefully smiling…here’s the recipe. Add whatever filling you like that needs no baking–a pastry cream, ice cream, lemon curd, or a stove-top fruit filling. Top with fruit, nuts, whipped cream, or a meringue. It’s easy as pie!
Have a great day my friends!
P.S. Registration is open for Virtual Pie Camp May 2021 and we may be dancing there, too.
Press-In Crust (Basic Directions)
- 2½ cups 300 g cookie crumbs (graham cracker, chocolate, vanilla wafers)
- 3 tablespoons 37 g granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons 84 g butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Make the cookie crumbs by processing them in a food processor or placing them in a large resealable bag and rolling with your pin until finely crushed.
- Place the cookie crumbs, sugar, and optional extras into a bowl. Add the melted butter and distribute it well with clean hands or a fork.
- Turn the mixture into the pie pan and evenly spread it out over the bottom and up the sides, but do not spread on top of the rim. You can use your fingers, the back of a spoon, or even the rounded side of a coffee cup or a small bowl. Try to make the depth of the crust even on the sides and the bottom. Press in firmly!
- Bake for 6 to 10 minutes until the edges have gained a little color. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.