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May 29th

Pie Crust Variations

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pie crustWith the upcoming holiday season, our thoughts turn to special foods we can prepare for the various meals. Pies...apple, mince, lemon meringue, custard, pumpkin, pecan, and others...will grace out tables during this festive time.

Why not try some pie crust variations?

Crumb, nut, and coconut pie crusts are some you can try on your family and friends when you tire of eating the familiar pastry. Many of these crusts can be baked first, then filled.

Usually they are used for fancy party-type desserts, but they can add a festive touch to an ordinary meal as well.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTS are a favored type, made with crushed grahams, butter, and perhaps a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg and nutmeats.

As far back as the 1800s, when the Shakers practiced their culinary arts, graham crusts were used. Here is a recipe, adapted for modern use:

GRAHAM NUT CRUST - Mix together 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs and 2/3 cup chopped walnut meats; work in 1/8 cup melted butter and 1 beaten egg white. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before adding filling.

(Vanilla or chocolate wafers or ginger snaps can be substituted for graham crackers in these fancy pie crust recipes.)

Cereal crusts are also popular and easy to make.

CORNFLAKE CRUMB CRUST - Measure 1 cup corn flake crumbs, 1/3 cup margarine and 2 tablespoons sugar into 9-inch pie pan. Press against sides and bottom of pan. Place in 350 degrees F. oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and chill before filling.

COCONUT crusts are delicious with cream and chiffon fillings and are easily prepared.

- Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter evenly on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut into pan and press evenly into butter.

Bake slowly at 300 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool before filling.

NUT crusts make crunchy bases for cream fillings. A WALNUT CRUST is easy to make. Combine 1 1/2 cups ground walnuts, 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 2 tablespoons sugar; press against bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan with back of spoon.

Bake at 400 degrees F. about 8 minutes. Cool before filling.

For an easy COOKIE CRUST, use Slice 'N Bake type refrigerator sugar cookies. Chocolate chip refrigerator cookies could be used with some fillings.

Grease lightly and sugar bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Cut cookies into 1/8-inch thick slices; overlap slices around sides of pan to form scalloped edge; line bottom with more slices, using 1/2 roll per crust.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. (Puffiness will flatten as it cools.)

Mary Emma Allen has been writing cooking columns for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. She's currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles: http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )


photo by kimberlykv


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