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Nicole Franz is a copy editor and paginator at The News-Herald in Willoughby. She takes all those sweet recipes, grueling workouts, cleaning tips, money-saving tricks, do-it-yourself projects and looks that seem so cool on Pinterest and writes about how they really turn out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Homemade graham cracker crust is easy as pie



I really wanted to do something fun and special as a treat for my roommate and me, and we’re both big fans of pumpkin-flavored desserts and cheesecake. So when I saw a pin for Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake, I was all about that. But before I could get to the pumpkin cheesecake I needed to make the graham cracker crust, which I pinned here.

Both pins are from Mr. Food and were easy to follow. But for now, we’ll stick to the crust.


Here's how the crust turned out before I poured the pumpkin cheesecake mixture into it.

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted 

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon; add butter then mix well.   Press mixture firmly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate.

Chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour before filling.

The dry ingredients (plus a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, because I'm using this for pumpkin cheesecake)

How it went

The most difficult thing about this was turning graham crackers into graham cracker crumbs. I tried just smashing them in a mixing bowl by hand (nominally successful) and using a potato masher (moderately successful, but left a lot of larger crumbs). I tried putting a few in baggy and crushing them by hand to get the fine crumbs I needed. That seemed to work best once the graham crackers were already broken up somewhat. Mostly I just kept getting frustrated, because I couldn’t seem to find a truly efficient way to do this seemingly easy task. But eventually I managed to get 1 1/3 cups of crumbs in my mixing bowl.

A fairly blurry photo (sorry!) of all the ingredients including the scalding hot butter

Adding in the sugar and cinnamon (and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, because I was making pumpkin cheesecake after all) was easy. I wish I’d melted the butter on the stove, because I ended up using my microwave and had that awful exploding butter problem that seems impossible to avoid in your average microwave. But I microwaved it and managed to coat my microwave in a fine buttery coat while managing to narrowly avoid scalding myself on hot butter.
Once all my ingredients were in the mixing bowl I mixed well, for well, a while. It was one of those recipes where you really work at mixing it’s good exercise though right (I keep telling myself this so I feel less guilty about devouring the delicious food I’m making). I kept mixing until I got this doughy mixture to a fairly even consistency.

Mixing by hand should get you something that looks like this and a workout

Then I dumped the mix into my pie pan and started pressing. This was the second most difficult part of this recipe, because it’s kind of difficult to fill in every bit of the pie pan when your hands are buttery. But once I was done and had thoroughly washed my hands again, I tossed my crust in the fridge.

Impressive, eh? Emphasis on the pressing that you'll have to do to get to this part


— Nicole Franz | NiFranz@News-Herald.com | @FranzOrFoe
Follow my Mission: Pinpossible board on Pinterest.

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