Graham cracker crumb crusts provide a delicious and appealing foundation for many kinds of pie, and are easy for any type of cook to make. Crumb crusts are particularly popular with pies that are served cold, such as Key Lime Pie, chiffon pies, ice cream pies, and pies with a delicate cheesecake-type filing. You can prepare several ahead of time and keep them frozen for up to one month. You can make crumb crusts with almost any crisp cookie, such as gingersnaps, chocolate wafers, and vanilla wafers. Bake the crust if you can, for the sturdiest texture. If you can’t bake it, chill it for two hours before filling it, and for several hours or overnight before cutting and serving the pie.
Yield: Makes one 9-inche single pie crust
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 squares; see Notes)
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar and stir with a fork to mix them well. Add the butter and stir to mix it into the crumbs evenly and well.
Press the buttery crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan, distributing the mixture evenly, and pressing firmly with your hands or another pie pan of the same size, to flatten the crumbs and shape a sturdy crust to hold the filling. Make sure to work the crumbs up to the rim of the pan, to make an good, strong edge.
Place the crust on the center shelf of the oven. Bake until the crust is heated through and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Place the crust on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
To make crumbs by hand, break the graham crackers into small pieces, crumbling them over a medium bowl. Put the pieces in the bottom of a large plastic bag. Using a rolling pin or large full can of soup or evaporated milk, crush the cracker pieces into a fine powder, rolling and smashing gently, to crumble up the cracker pieces without breaking open the bag. Measure out 1¼, cups, and prepare the crust as described. To make crumbs using a food processor, break the graham crackers into medium pieces, and put them into the workbowl of a food processor that has been fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to break the pieces down into bits, and then process until you have fine crumbs, stopping once or twice to scrape the sides and grind them evenly.