#127: Pie Basics: Press-In Crusts and Grasshopper Pie
Easy Peasy Pie
But last week I got distracted when I was making one and it looked kinda off. I had doubled the amount of butter. I love butter but too much in this recipe and you will have a slumped mess in the bottom of the pan like it did. As I am rather frugal and store bought cookies being expensive, even more so when you are using gluten-free cookies, I was determined to fix it.
I immediately grabbed a flexible spatula and returned the slumped bake to the food processor, added some old-fashioned rolled oats, about 1 cup, to soak up some of that butter, buzzed it all up again until everything looked more or less like it should, quickly put the mixture in to the still warm pie pan, and popped it back into the oven to re-bake. I kept an eye on the bake through the window to see if it would keep its shape, which this time it did. I totally give myself high-fives for this save and a new variation on a chocolate cookie crumb crust, too.
I use press-in crusts as the base for pastry creams, ice cream pies, lemon curds, stove-top fruit fillings, and finish with top layers of fruit, nuts, whipped cream, meringue, or a bare naked top.
Below is the recipe for press-in crust and my mom’s grasshopper pie which she always made during the winter holidays. You’ll find some variations for that filling, too.
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Recipe: Press-In Crust
What You Need for a 9” deep dish pie pan
2½ cups 300 g cookie crumbs (graham cracker, chocolate, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, etc)
3 tablespoons 37 g granulated sugar
6 tablespoons 84 g butter, melted
How To Do It
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.
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 important to press in firmly.
An overnight “curing time” in the fridge really helps a crumb crust to set so you can slice and plate pieces more easily.
You can also make a press-in crust combining almond flour, hazlenut flour, oatmeal, coconut, plus cinnamon or other spices of your choice. Use the same basic ratio of crumbs, sugar, and butter in the recipe above.
I used Pamela’s Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. For a shallow 9” pyrex plate it takes 12 cookies. For a deep dish pie pan, use 16 cookies which will make 2 cups and increase the butter to 4 T. There are nine cookies in a box. It takes 2 boxes.