Dessert can be demanding. So much whipping, melting, baking and waiting. I've picked up some tips for putting together a decent "company dinner" on the double, but I can't get the last course right . . . and I have this frustrating feeling that it's the end of the night that everyone remembers.
I'm learning that some home cooks have a stable of desserts that rely on pantry ingredients that don't demand too much ambtion or make a mess at the last minute. Yogurt cake has been my best success so far. Here's another dessert basic for our repertoire. The crusts take about 15 minutes to make including baking time and can be made the night before and filled just before serving dinner.
Filling the crust is the fun part so I'll leave that up to you. Last night I poured chocolate pudding into the crust and topped it with chocolate shavings.
Graham Cracker Crust
Makes enough crust for one 9-inch pie, or four 6-oz (3/4 cup) ramekins
10 graham crackers (about 5 ounces)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. If you don't have a food processor, put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Stir the warm melted butter, sugar and vanilla into the graham cracker crumbs.
While the mixture is still warm and easy to handle, mold it into the pie plate. Start with the bottom and then build around the sides. As an alternative, the crust can be made into individual servings in smaller souffle cups or tart pans (as I did in the picture above).
Bake for 7-10 minutes. You should see that the sugar has melted and the crumbs have formed a solid crust.