Crumb, nut, and coconut pie crusts are popular variations to try with your family and friends when you tire of eating the familiar pastry made with flour, shortening, salt, and water. Many of these crust variations are baked first and used as a shell; others you fill and bake. Often these non-traditional pie crusts are used for fancy party type desserts. However, they can add a festive touch to an ordinary meal as well.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTS are a more familiar type, made with crushed graham crackers, butter or other shortening, 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. Vanilla or chocolate wafers or ginger snaps are substituted by some cooks for graham crackers in these fancy pie crust recipes.
GRAHAM CRACKER/WALNUT CRUST is one variation. Mix together 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs and 2/3 cup chopped walnut meats (pecans can be substituted). Mix in 1/8 cup melted butter or margarine and 1 unbeaten egg white. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before filling.
CEREAL CRUSTS also are popular. Frequently CORN FLAKES are used for these. Measure 1 cup crushed corn flakes, 1/3 cup margarine, and 2 tablespoons sugar into 9-inch pie pan. Place in 350 degree F. oven for 5 minutes. Remove and mix thoroughly; then press against sides and bottom of pan; chill before filling.
COOKIE CRUST - For a festive crust, use rolled refrigerator cookies,either ones you purchase or those you've made and rolled yourself. Sugar cookies are the ones most commonly used. However chocolate and chocolate chip cookies go well with some fillings, depending on your taste.
Grease lightly and sprinkle with sugar the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Using a roll of refrigerated cookie dough, cut cookies into1/8-inch slices. Overlap slices around sides of pan to form a scalloped edge; line bottom with more slices. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Any puffiness should flatten as crust cools.
WHEAT GERM CRUST - This may be a nutritious crust you'd like to try. Mix together 1 cup wheat germ, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine. Press the mixture evenly on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until set. Cool before adding afavorite filling. Vanilla or banana cream is especially good.
COCONUT CRUSTS are tasty with cream and chiffon fillings. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine evenly on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut into pan and press evenly into the butter. Bake slowly at 300 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Cool before filling.
(c)2004 Mary Emma Allen
(Mary Emma Allen searches for old and new recipes to share with her readers. She also writes children’s stories and cooks with her grandchildren.)________________________________________________________________