Graham cracker crusts are much more foolproof than the elusive flaky pastry crust. With a these simple crusts, there is no longstanding debate over shortening versus butter or what temperature your marble pastry board should be. No, graham cracker crusts are much more egalitarian, and we like easy crusts this time of year.
Plus, we have a soft spot for pies with graham cracker crusts. They have a nutty, buttery crunch that goes so well with everything from summery ice cream pies topped with fresh fruit to rich pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving.
Making a graham cracker crust is so simple and quick that there is hardly ever a reason to buy store-bought. Just crush the crackers into crumbs, mix with melted butter, and bake. No fuss, no muss! You can even freeze the baked crusts so you have one on-hand for those times when you don't want to heat up the kitchen.
Graham Cracker Crust
What You Need
12 full-size graham crackers (about 6 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) sugar, optional
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water, optional
Food processor OR a rolling pin and a plastic bag
9-inch pie pan
1. Crumble the Graham Crackers: Break up the crackers and place them in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar, if using. Pulse to break the crackers further and then process continuously until the crackers are crushed into fine crumbs. Alternatively, place all the crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until broken into fine crumbs. You should end up with about 2 cups total of graham cracker crumbs.
2. Combine with Butter: Transfer the graham crackers to a bowl. Melt the butter and pour over the graham crackers. Stir until the crumbs are evenly coated and look wet. The crumbs should hold together in a clump if you press them in your fist; if not, add water a tablespoon at a time until this happens.
3. Press into a Pie Pan: Heat the oven to 375° F. Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan and press them evenly along the bottoms and sides.
4. Bake the Crust: If you are making a no-bake pie, like Ice Cream Pie, pre-bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes until dry and fragrant. Cool completely before proceeding with the recipe. For a baked pie, like pumpkin or custard pie, fill the pie and bake according to the recipe instructions.
• In place of graham crackers, you can use ginger snaps, nilla wafers, chocolate wafer cookies, chocolate graham crackers, cinnamon grahams, or any other cookie or cracker that is dry and crumbles easily.
• This crust can also be baked in ramekins, muffin cups, cake pans, or tart pans.
• Baked crusts can be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to three months. No need to thaw before filling - the crust will be thawed and perfect by the time you set the pie on the table.
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This post was originally published 11/20/07.
(Images: Emma Christensen)