Making a Crumb Crust

For those who fear a traditional short-crust pie crust — or who just plain ‘ol love cookies — a crumb crust is a very easy, low-stress way to go. All you need are some crumbs, a little butter and a pinch of salt and you’re on your way. Here I’m doing a graham cracker crust. I put my crackers, the sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor…

…and run it for about 15 seconds until I have, well…crumbs. I don’t want to take this down to a powder, mind you. A few larger bits are OK.

Next I transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl add my butter.

Give it a stir…

…then get in there with my hands and start rubbing.

You want the mixture to form a “log” easily when you squeeze it, one that should hold its shape for five seconds or so when you open your hand. If you don’t have that sort of cohesion, add another tablespoon of butter.

What? Do you know how much butter is in a standard pie crust? A lot. Anyway this step is critical to achieving a crust that will actually stand up on a plate.

Pour the mixture into a pie plate.

Apply a little plastic and start pressing — in the middle at first then outward toward the edges.

The up the sides. Gently press together any obvious cracks.

And there you go. Ready for baking. You can keep this for up to several days lightly covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.

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4 Responses to Making a Crumb Crust

  1. Eva says:

    It is the little things that are sometimes such big things. The tip about the crumbs forming a log for at least 5 seconds is a GEM! I will use that one when I make my peanut butter pie for my son’s graduation in a couple of weeks. I always have a difficult time with that crust crumbling. Thanks Joe!

    Eva

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Eva!

      Yes Mrs. Pastry was very frustrated when she made a key lime pie for me for my birthday last October…the crust collapsed as soon as a slices was lifted out of the pan. It still tasted great of course, but it didn’t look the way she hoped it would. A little more butter in the crust was, I think, the problem.

      Let me know how the peanut butter pie comes out!

      - Joe

  2. Sally says:

    I like a clear glass pie plate for crumb crusts because I can melt the butter–slowly!–in the microwave, dump in the crumbs, mix and press (when it has enough butter) right in that same pie plate. Even better, I can hold it up to the light to check for thin spots where filling could escape.

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