Monday, September 28, 2015

Tip # 1 - Preparing For Fall - Crumb Crust

   As we head into a season filled with holidays and the gathering of  friends and family, we find ourselves looking to make our baking and cooking faster and easier. We want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with the ones we love. This month, I am going to give you a few shortcuts and tips to help prepare ahead of time, so when guests arrive, there is no need panic. A few quick tricks can make entertaining less stressful and more fun.
   It is now fall and that means pie! I find that one of the reasons many people do not bake pie from scratch is because of the time it takes to make pie crust. Yet, not all pie crust needs to be made of dough,nor does it need to be difficult.With a little advanced preparation, putting a pie together can be quick and fun!
   One of the things I like to do when I have an extra few minutes , is to make and store crumbs. I use ginger snaps, graham crackers, chocolate chips,sugar cookies and Oreos, pulverize them in my food processor, and store them in mason jars. Another  way to store them is to place them in freezer bags and keep frozen until needed. Many people like to bake the crust before adding the filling, but I prefer not to, especially if I am baking the pie. I prefer a softer crust. However, if I am using the crust for any type of unbaked pie, I will bake the plain crust at 350 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes, let cool, then fill.
   Not only is this a great way to be a step ahead when making a pie that requires a cookie or cracker crust, the crumbs can also be used as a  topping for ice-cream, yogurt, or smoothies.
  If you want to prepare one step further, you can  use  the recipe below(quick and easy) for a crumb crust, fit it into a pie plate, then wrap the pie plate tightly with plastic wrap and store in the freezer until needed. When you are ready , take it out, add your desired filling and bake. Easy and stress-free.

Cookie Crust:

Approximately 20-25 cookies of your choice
1/4 c. melted butter
 -Pulverize the cookies in a food processor. Add the melted butter and mix together until all of the crumbs are coated.
- Pour into a pie plate, and using either a dry measuring cup or your hands, press down firmly so the crumbs fit into the shape of the plate.
-The crust can be used immediately or wrapped well and stored inthe freezer for up to three months.

Graham Cracker Crust:
-1/4 c. melted butter
- 1/4 c.  sugar
-pinch salt
    Mix all ingredients together and fit into desired pie plate. Use immediately, or wrap tightly and store in the freezer until needed.
***You can also add a touch of cinnamon ,if desired.

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