Friday, November 16, 2007


I'm talking about that bit of graham cracker crust that always stays behind in the pie dish as you're cutting the pie. This is a brilliant Maida Heatter tip for dealing with that. It is, admittedly, a bit tricky, but it works beautifully. And you can, in fact you MUST, do it in advance. Here's what to do and then I've outlined it again below with pictures.

Line your pie dish with foil. The easiest way to do this is to turn your pie dish upside down and cover the outside with foil. Then remove it and fit the into the inside of the pie dish. Pat your graham cracker crust into the foil lined dish, making sure that the top edge isn't too thin.

After I've patted all the crumbs down, the inside bottom edge of the pie is sometimes a bit thicker than it needs to be. I scrape away at it with a teaspoon and use THOSE crumbs to build up the top edge. (Turn your sound on, it sounds as if I'm chipping away at a frozen sidewalk and this is BEFORE I've frozen the crust.)

The crust for The Pumpkin Chiffon Pie that I'm making doesn't need to be pre-baked, but YOUR recipe may. In that case, bake it according to your recipe’s directions. Cool it completely.

Whether you bake it or not, cover it with plastic wrap and foil and freeze it solid. I do it for a couple of days. You can do it a month in advance if you want. It must be very HARD.

Take it out of the freezer and carefully peel off the foil. You may have to do it in strips. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just be careful not to shatter the crust.

After you’ve removed all the foil, place it back in the pie dish and wrap it superbly. And freeze it until you need it.

One more thing, often recipes give you JUST enough crumbs to pat into the shell and that takes time and it’s a bother. I ALWAYS make 1 1/2 times the amount of the recipe to give me enough crumbs to line the shell easily and quickly.

Note: My Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe is from a cooking class I took when I was a kid (way back in the 20th century). It's not my original recipe, so I won't post it here. But email me, if you'd like it. It is kind of a pain to make and you can only really do it one day in advance, but it is sooooooooooo good, that's it's worth it.


Cynthia said...

This is a life-saver, ahem, sorry, pie-saver posts for many people. Thanks for doing this.

Sue said...

Thanks for the shoutout, Cynthia.

It's one of the best tips I've ever learned about graham cracker crusts. It works like a gem...

Emiline said...

That is a beautiful pie crust. Those are some good tips-will have to remember in the future.

Sue said...

Thanks Em,

You're sweet.

Tom N said...

I've been doing the crust Maida's way for years now, ever since I first made her Coffee-Toffee Pie from her Book of Great Desserts. There are a whole bunch of her recipes that I love (the Texas Fruit Cake, the lemon cake, the Lady Baltimore cake, etc). I still go to her books first when I want to try something new.

Sue said...

Hi Tom,
Welcome! Maida Heatter really is a gem, isn't she? Her book of American desserts is wonderful too.