Easy as Pie
Summer is all about simple entertaining, and these flavor-packed pies top our list of fun and easy desserts.
- Pulsing cookies in a food processor is a quick way to create crumbs. Some recipes call for finely ground crumbs, while others benefit from the texture of more coarsely crushed pieces. If you don't have a processor, place the cookies in a large zip-top plastic bag; partially close the bag, leaving a small opening in the top of the bag to allow air to escape. Gently crush cookies with a rolling pin or mallet.
- Spread the crumb mixture all the way up the sides and onto the lip of the pieplate. Pressing the crumb mixture partially up the sides of the pieplate creates a dense, uneven crust that is too shallow to hold the filling. To ensure the crust holds together and slices easily, firmly pat the cookie mixture in the pieplate so there are no loose crumbs.
- Be careful not to overbake the crust or it may become too hard when cool--10 to 12 minutes is usually all that's needed to solidify the crumb mixture.
- Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut through the filling and crust; then insert a pie server underneath each slice and lift it from the pan.
- A 9-inch glass pieplate works best for these recipes. Pottery pie dishes vary in size and shape, but most are large enough to hold a glass pieplate and make beautiful serving containers.
Related: Lime Bars Recipe
Crumb Crust Recipe
Crisp and cookie-thick, these over-the-rim crusts add a signature look to every pie. Unless otherwise noted, one standard-size (12- to 16-oz.) package of cookies or pretzel sticks will yield more than enough crumbs for each recipe. Different types of cookies require different amounts of butter and sugar, but the basic method for preparing and baking a crumb crust remains the same.
Crumb Crust Prep Steps: Stir together all ingredients; firmly press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 9-inch pieplate. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and cool crust 1 hour or until completely cool before filling.
Pretzel Crust: 2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks, 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 3/4 cup melted butter Chocolate Cookies-and-Cream Crust: 2½ cups coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs, 1/3 cup melted butter
Vanilla Wafer Crust: 2½ cups coarsely crushed vanilla wafer crumbs, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter
Butter Cookie Crust: 2½ cups butter cookie crumbs (about 1½ packages), 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter
Chocolate Butter Cookie Crust: 2½ cups chocolate-flavored butter cookie crumbs (about 1½ packages), 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter. Note: For testing purposes, we used Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies and Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chessmen Cookies for regular and chocolate-flavored butter cookies.