TMKW: Pie Crust Compendium

Gingerly spreading the pie crust over the pie plate

This morning, I found myself wishing for a pie crust dictionary Ė a handy list of crusts for those days when Iím longing for pie, but bored with or too lazy to make a traditional crust (which is most days).

So I compiled my favorite recipes, typed them up and here they are. Itís certainly a non-exhaustive list. If you think I missed one, email me at throughmykitchenwindow@gmail.com and Iíll add yours to our pie crust compendium.

Bacon Crust: Fry 3 pieces of bacon until crispy. Set aside to cool. Reserve 2 Tbs of bacon grease and when cool, place the bacon and bacon grease in the freezer. When the bacon is completely frozen, pulse it in a food processor until it resembles coarse flour. Mix in 1 1/4 cups flour and 2 Tbs sugar. Cut in the frozen bacon grease and 8 Tbs cold butter. Whisk together 1 egg and 1 Tb ice water. Add to the crust mixture until a dough forms. Press into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface and place in a pie pan. Pre-bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes covered and 6 minutes uncovered. Cool before filling.

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Cheddar Crust: Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Cut in 1/3 cup cold butter. Stir in 3 Tbs water. Roll out on a floured work surface. Place in a 9 inch pie pan. Fill and bake according to your recipe directions, or pre-bake at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Rice Krispy Crust: Melt 1/3 cup melted butter and 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in Rice Krispies and press into a buttered 9 inch pie pan. Chill before filling.

Coconut Butter Crust: Cut 1/4 cup cold butter and 2 Tbs solid coconut oil into 1 cup coconut flour until mixture is pea sized. Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp honey, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, and 1 Tb water. Mix together with your hands until a soft dough has formed. Pat dough into a 9 inch pie pan. Beat 1 egg white with a fork until frothy. With a pastry brush, brush the crust with the egg white just before filling. To pre-bake, bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Cornflake Crust: Crush 3 cups of cornflakes down into 1 1/3 cups crumbs. Mix in 2 Tbs sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter. Press into a 9 inch pie pan. Pre-bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes.

Cracker Crumb Crust: Butter a 9 inch pie pan with 2 plus Tbs soft butter. Press 2 1/2 cups of cracker crumbs firmly into the butter. Chill in the freezer before filling and baking.

French Butter Crust: Preheat the oven to 410 degrees. Set aside 1 rounded cup (5 ozs) flour. Place 6 Tbs soft butter, 1 Tb oil, 3 Tbs water, 1 Tb sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt in an oven-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the hot oven for 15 mins. Remove the bowl from oven and mix in the flour until it forms a ball. Dump the hot dough into a tart pan and spread with a spatula. When itís cool enough to touch, press and spread the dough up the tin sides. Prick with a fork and refrigerate for 5 mins. Bake for 15 mins until golden. Cool before filling.

Ginger Snap Crust: Mix 1 1/2 cups crushed ginger snaps with 5 Tbs melted butter. If too dry, add more butter. Press into a 9 inch pie pan and chill before filling.

Gluten-Free Crust: Mix together 2 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1 tsp xanthan gum. Cut in 10 Tbs cold butter. Add 1/2-3/4 cup ice water a splash at a time, until the dough sticks together. Form into two discs, wrap, and refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes. Makes enough for top and bottom in a 9 inch pan.

Graham Cracker Crust: Smash 10-12 graham crackers (honey, cinnamon or chocolate) to make 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Add a Tb of water if the mix doesnít stick together when you press it between your fingers. Press into a pie pan, making the crust about 1/8 inch thick. Chill the crust for an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until just slightly browned. Cool before filling. Variations: Substitute finely chopped nuts for some of the graham cracker crumbs. Substitute peanut butter for the butter.

Graham Cracker Crust (gluten-free): Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together 1/4 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs coconut flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp cinnamon. In a separate bowl whisk together 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Using your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie or tart pan. Bake for 15 minutes for a pie pan and 7 minutes for a tart pan if you will not be baking it any further after adding the filling. Cool completely, then add filling.

If your filling requires baking, bake the crust for 5-7 minutes until itís a very light golden color. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes, then add the filling, cover edges with foil and bake.

Hash Brown Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie pan. Ring moisture out of 2 cups thawed or homemade hash browns. Mix in 1-2 Tbs grated onion, carrot or bell pepper. Press firmly into a pie pan. Brush the crust with 3 Tbs of melted butter. Bake 20 minutes before filling.

No-Bake Pecan Coconut Crust: Grind 3/4 cup crushed pecans (or walnuts) and 1/4 cup shredded coconut in a food processor until combined. Press into a 9 inch pie pan and add filling.

No-Roll Pie Crust: Mix 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt and 2 Tbs sugar (optional). Whisk together 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 2 Tbs cold milk and add to dry mixture. Mix well. Press evenly into a pie pan. To use as an unbaked shell, add filling and bake according to your recipe directions. To use as a baked shell, prick dough with a fork several times and bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool before filling.

Oatmeal Crust: Spread 1 1/2 cups rolled oats on a cookie sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Mix them into 1/3 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Press into 9 inch pie dish. Variations: Substitute 1/4-1/2 cup coconut flakes for oatmeal.

Oreo Pie Crust: Crush 24 Oreos in a food processor or by hand. Mix in 1/4 cup melted butter. Press into a pie pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour before adding filling.

Overnight Yogurt Crust: Combine 1 cup yogurt and 2 sticks softened butter. Add 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt. Mix until itís too difficult to stir any more. Use your fingers to completely combine. Cover the bowl with a towel. Let it set in a warm place for 12-24 hours (like in a dehydrator or in the oven with the light on). The next morning, sprinkle your work surface with flour, divide the dough in half, and roll out. Makes enough for a top and bottom crust. Place bottom crust in the pie pan, add filling and top crust. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees or as directed in your pie recipe.

Pretzel Crust: Lightly crush 2 cups pretzels. Mix in 2 sticks melted butter and 2 Tbs sugar. Press into the bottom of a pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool before adding filling.

Rice Crust: Butter a 9 inch pie pan. Mix together 2 cups cooked rice, a pinch of salt and pepper, and 1-2 eggs. Press into the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, fill and bake according to your recipe directions. Variations: Add a splash of soy sauce or any spices and herbs desired.

Sweet Almond Crust: Mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup finely ground almonds, 1 Tb brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Cut in 1/2 pound butter pieces. Add 5-6 Tbs ice water and gently knead until dough comes together. Form into a flat disc about 1 inch thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll out the dough. Place in a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Fold any edges inside, forming a thicker crust. Line with parchment paper or foil. Pour in a pound of dried beans, filling to the edges. Bake about 20 minutes, or until bottom begins to look cooked. Let cool. Remove the beans and foil.

Tart Crust (Grain-Free): Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch tart pan. In a mixer or food processor, combine 2 cups almond flour, 2 Tbs coconut flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin, 1 tsp arrowroot powder and 3/4 tsp sea salt. Mix enough to combine. Add 8 Tbs unsalted butter and mix until a dough forms. Press dough on the bottom and up sides of the tart pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool before adding filling.