Making Crumb Crusts
A step-by-step tutorial for making a classic crumb crust.
Cheesecakes, key lime pies, cream pies, and frozen pies all call for crumb crusts.
1. To make a 9-inch pie crust, we used 15 graham crackers (1½ cups crushed) and 6 tablespoons melted butter.
Graham cracker is the standard, but you can use shortbread, chocolate or vanilla wafers, or other cookie crumbs, too--the method will stay the same.
2. Break the graham crackers into smaller pieces. To turn those pieces into crumbs, you can use a food processor or blender. Pulse in short bursts until you've got coarse crumbs.
3. To make crumbs the old-fashioned way, put the graham cracker pieces in a large, heavy-duty resealable bag. (Leave a small opening in the top of the bag to allow air to escape.) Using a little pressure, roll a rolling pin over the plastic bag. Continue rolling the pin over the bag until the cookies are broken into coarse crumbs.
4. Pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, followed by the melted butter. If your recipe calls for added sugar, it should be mixed into the graham cracker crumbs before adding the butter. You can also add a pinch of salt to set off the sweet flavor.
5. Work the butter into the crumbs with a wooden spoon or your hands until the butter is evenly distributed.
6. Dump the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or pie tin; there's no need to grease the pan.
7. Use your hands or a flat-bottomed glass to press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides (if desired) of the pan. To avoid crumbs getting into the batter, press firmly to ensure the crust is well compacted.
8. Bake the crust according to the recipe instructions, usually 8-10 minutes. Let it cool completely before adding the filling.
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