Tag Archives: crumb crust

Salted Nutella Pie

When one of my dearest flickr/facebook friends posted about these Mini Salted Nutella Tarts, she knew that I would have to come up with my own pie version. Straight Nutella is a little intense for a whole pie, so I mentioned that whipping it with cream cheese sounded tasty, much like my popular Peanut Butter Pie. Kelly agreed, her family not so much. Well, sweet Kelly, thank you for the inspiration. I am pretty sure you would love my pie.

I used the base ingredients of my Peanut Butter Pie—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped cream—and the divine Nutella took over the role of nut butter.

I used a 9-inch pie pastry for the crust, but I think it would also be tasty with a shortbread or almond cookie crust. I found the salty pastry as a nice foil to the sweet Nutella, though. I am a huge fan of the salty-sweet harmony.

This is a grand pie on its own, but I had fresh strawberries on hand and I thought it would be tasty (and a tiny bit healthy) to add a layer of sliced berries along the bottom of the pie. It was quite delicious.

Salted Nutella Pie

½ cup powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nutella (I pretty much used the whole 13 oz jar)
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top*
1 cup strawberries, sliced*
1 9-inch pie pastry, prebaked and cooled

*optional, but tasty

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in Nutella and vanilla. Set aside.

If you want to add a layer of strawberries, it is a good idea to spread a thin layer of Nutella along the bottom of the pie crust before arranging the sliced berries to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Beat heavy cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir a third of the whipped cream mixture into the Nutella mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon filling into crust (over strawberries) and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Sprinkle the top of the pie with sea salt before serving, if you desire. (Seriously, do not be afraid of the salt. It is so, so good.)

I added a sliced and fanned strawberry as a garnish. A drizzle of chocolate syrup is another option if you’re feeling fancy.

Let’s look at some pretty pictures now.

I just had to show you how much butter goes into my pie pastry. This is for 2 9-inch pastry rounds

The simple ingredient lineup

Whip the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar in large bowl and try not to make a mess

Properly whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar

Now add the delicious Nutella. So thick and so rich, rich

I spread a bit of this mixture over the bottom of the pie crust before layering the berries

I know, right?

The strawberries are layered and the heavy cream is whipped to perfection

Gently fold the whipped cream into the Nutella mixture. You want to keep it fluffy. Where's Fluffy?

This is me trying to hold the camera and take a photo while pouring the filling in the pie

Looks delicious, but it must chill at least 4 hours

Here's the chilled pie in bad lighting

The perfect slice of pie makes me crazy happy

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Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Strawberries are cheap and plentiful right now, so I am taking advantage of the Florida berries while I can. I was very pleased with my Baked Strawberry Pie, but wanted to put my own twist on Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Icebox Pie. I also wanted cream cheese in the pie, because it is so darn tasty. I was going to use shortbread cookies for the crust, hence the shortcake inspiration, but then I found Golden Oreo cookies on sale at Publix. Yum.

This pie is simple to prepare, and you can easily substitute different berries for the filling or other cookies for the crust. The sweet cream cheese complements the ripe berries so nicely, but feel free to omit it if you are crazy and don’t like cream cheese.

Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Cookie Crust
24 Golden Oreo Cookies
3 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Place cookies in a single layer in a Ziploc bag. Crush cookies with a rolling pin. (You could also pulse the cookies in a food processor, but smashing them is more fun.) Pour cookie crumbs in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until combined. Press into 9-inch pie plate Bake at 350°for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Pie Filling
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
½ cup water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Mash 2 cups strawberries in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add ½ cup water and mashed strawberries. Cook over medium heat until thick and boiling. Boil about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Spread evenly into cooled pie crust. Top with sliced strawberries and pour cooled strawberry mixture on top. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.

The ingredient lineup

I must admit my addiction to Golden Oreos

For a good time, put cookies in a Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin

You should really smash them better than I did

Press cookie crumbs into a pie plate

Now smash half of the sliced berries

Show the sliced berries what will happen to them if they don't behave

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together, then add the water and berries

Let the berries boil about 1 minute, until mixture is thick and glossy

While berry mixture cools, whip up the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar

That cream cheese is totally whipped

Spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled cookie crust

Mmm.... Cream cheese

Pile on the sliced berries. Don't worry, it will all fit

Carefully pour the cooled berry mixture over the sliced berries and stick it in the fridge to chill

The perfect slice

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter is a popular pie for potlucks. It is a pretty simple icebox pie that even non-bakers can whip up in no time. I have never been a fan of peanut butter pies (or potlucks, for that matter) because they are usually cloyingly sweet or too salty. I blame the cloyingly sweet part on the usage of Cool Whip. I just don’t get Cool Whip. (I don’t get Miracle Whip, either, but that’s another story.)

Homemade whipped cream is simple: heavy cream, sugar, a little vanilla. When you make your own, you can control the sweetness. You just have to be careful to stop mixing when you reach soft peaks, because it will go from whipped cream to butter in the blink of an eye. Although, making butter is fun, too. I used to do this activity with the kids when I was an after-school group leader. (Kids love craft projects they can eat.)

Back to the pie. The whipped cream I make for this pie contains no sugar because there is already sugar in the pie. I do not add salt because peanut butter is already salty enough. Of course, using some kind of hippie health food, no-salt, no-sugar peanut butter will give you different results. That’s fine if that is how you roll, but be aware that you may need to add salt and your favorite natural sweetener to make a palatable pie.

I am not a choosy mom, but I still choose Jif because my choosy mom chose Jif. I like the taste and the texture better than other brands. You can use the peanut butter you prefer, just make sure it’s smooth. Part of the appeal of this pie is the creamy texture. Peanut bits that will invariably get stuck in your teeth will ruin the effect, plus your friends with diverticulitis (Remember Doug and Wendy Whiner?) won’t be able to eat it.

While you can pick up a ready-made crumb crust at the grocery, I implore you to make your own crust. It is so easy and so much better.

Peanut Butter Pie

Crust
1½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve)
5 tbs butter, melted
1 tbs sugar

Mix and press into pie plate. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1½ cups smooth peanut butter
1 tbs vanilla
1½ cups heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla until combined. Set aside. Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in 1/3 of whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon into cooled pie crust and refrigerate at least four hours before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs or a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

I remembered to take more photos this time, except during the whipped cream part. I am easily distracted by whipped cream.

The obligatory ingredient lineup

Chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Chocolate cookie crumbs work, too

Mmm.... Butter! Do not skimp on the butter; four tablespoons really isn't enough

Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate

Completely cool the crumb crust on a wire rack before filling

Beat the powdered sugar and cream cheese until fluffy

Ooooh! That's fluffy!

Now it's time to add the peanut, peanut butter (hold the jelly)

Confession: I rarely measure vanilla extract

Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until it looks like this

Use a spatula to gently fold in the whipped cream

Peanut-buttery goodness ready to become a pie

Gently fill the crumb crust and make it look pretty

I sprinkled cookie crumbs on top just to pretty it up a bit

After chilling for four hours, the pie sliced up perfectly

You Can Have Cookies for Crust

The topic of pies came up the other night while sharing beers with friends. (I know, right? How random. Pie.) And someone mentioned they don’t like pastry pie crust, but they do like cookie crusts. I started thinking about all of the cookies I could use for crusts. Mmm…. Cookies.

I made an Oreo crust for the Grasshopper Pie. And a— wait a minute. Oh my! Look at all of these OREO pie recipes!! I’m so easily distracted by pie and recipes….

I’ll have to check that out later because I want to talk about how easy cookie crusts really are. Plus they are delicious. Graham crackers are the classic. I think my sister uses some kind of almond cookie for her awesome cheesecake, and that would make a delicious pie crust, too. I used a package of Pepperidge Farms shortbread cookies for a Mandarin Orange Cheesecake Pie (recipe TK!) a few weeks ago, and that was darn tasty.

I noticed that a lot of the older cookbooks recommend Zweibacks as a cookie to crumble for a crust. Man, I loved those teething biscuits. Seriously. Crunchy goodness. Sounds kind of odd for a crumb crust, though. Maybe it’s just me.

A few cookies I recommend are Anna’s Thins (any flavor, but ginger rocks), LU’s le Petit Beurres, and, most importantly, Jules Destrooper‘s Almond Thins or Butter Crumbles. Yumness right there.

The basic recipe is about 2 cups of cookie crumbs and 2-4 tbs butter, melted. You may need more butter if the crumbs feel too dry. Depending on the size of the cookie an your pie plate, you may use 12-24 cookies. You can either use a food processor, or put the cookies in a Ziploc bag and smack the heck out of them with a rolling pin. That’s how I like to do it. With a rolling pin. Trust me.

Mix the crumbs and melted butter together and press into a pie plate.  You can cover with plastic wrap and press a smaller pie plate into the crust to get it even. Or you can use the bottom of a glass to do the same thing. Just make sure that you press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 350° oven and let cool on a wire rack before filling. There’s your crust.

I have seen recipes, like this one for Nabisco’s FAMOUS® Chocolate Wafer crust, that add sugar to the crumbs and butter. More sugar? I don’t think it’s necessary.  (So I have to point this out, but does Nabisco own the rights to shouting “FAMOUS!!” or just the word FAMOUS in all caps? Weird. Oh, shit! I probably owe them money now.)

That’s pretty much it. Go ahead and have yo’ cookie crust!

Any questions?