Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Alternative Pie Crusts (For People Who Hate to Make Pies)

I've decided there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who like to make pies, and those who don't. I fall in the latter category. I make pies twice a year--for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. And I only do it then because I feel obligated out of tradtion. Also because my pumpkin and pecan pies are to-die-for. But otherwise, you can forget it.

The whole crux of the matter is the crust. I hate making pie crusts. Mostly because I think they take too much work and make too much mess and are too temperamental. Therefore, if I'm going to make a pie when it's not Thanksgiving or Christmas, I will opt for one of the two following "crust substitutes," if you will.

Actually, this first one I just barely discovered. It's wonderful if you're a coconut lover. I think it would work with any kind of pudding or custard-type pie. I made it with lemon pudding, and the whole thing just tasted like Spring to me.
I got this recipe from an All You magazine and altered it slightly.

Coconut Crust
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sugar cookie crumbs (about 12 cookies). I didn't have sugar cookies, so I just used vanilla sandwich cookies with the centers scraped out.
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I just used regular salted butter).

Stir coconut, crumbs and butter until blended. Firmly press onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust until golden, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on rack. Spread filling in crust and chill until ready to serve.

My second crust goes well with every kind of pie. I prefer it over regular crust, not just for ease of preparation, but also for taste and texture.

Crumble Crust
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)

Mix until crumbly (can do this in a food processor--just make sure not to over-mix) and press onto the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. This makes enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish.

There you have it! No rolling, no flipping, no peeling off waxed paper, no ripping crust. Easy and yummy!

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