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Friday, December 20, 2013

3 Ingredient Shortbread Crust - an easy pie crust alternative

Baked to golden brown
So let's say you've had bad pie crust experiences. Or perhaps you don't have a rolling pin or a pastry cutter and you're just making a pie as a one time thing for a holiday party. Or maybe you're just plain scared of making pastries. Don't panic! There's still no need resort to drastic measures (like store bought pie crust).

Just whip out this super simple shortbread crust recipe instead. It uses things you've already got in your kitchen anyway.

It works really well with a glass pie plate (or any hard material), but looks even fancier if you bake it in a tart pan (sometimes called a quiche pan). These are really easy to find at any major retailer (including Target). You can also use this recipe to make smaller crusts in a muffin tin if you're trying to create some sort of fancy tiny desserts for a party. It's very sweet and a bit crunchy so we generally wouldn't recommend it for savory fillings.

What's a tart pan (sometimes called a "quiche pan")? Well, it's like a metal pie plate but the bottom and sides separate so you can easily remove the pan from the crust:
The outcome is strikingly similar to a pie crust, but easier to make and it just looks super fancy. Here's the Buttermilk Pie: Crème Brûlée of the South pie we made with the crust made from these pictures:

  • 1 stick of salted butter (if using unsalted, mix 1/4 tsp salt into the flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup properly measured flour (156.25 grams)
  1. Use a fork to combine butter and sugar until it makes large lumps.
    Sugar and butter mix easily
  2. Add flour and mix with a fork until there are no lumps larger than a pea.
    Flour is mixed in
  3. Dump about half of the mixture into your baking dish.
    Half the mixture in the pan
  4. Use your hand to gently press the mix into the bottom of the dish, making sure to get into the corners. (The crust should be about 1/8" thick.)
    The bottom is pressed in
  5. Pour the rest of it around the edges of the crust and gently press into the sides getting it fairly even and up to the top edge of the dish.
    Pressing the sides in
  6. Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom to prevent bubbling during baking.
  7. Refrigerate or freeze for at least an hour. (This helps to keep the sides stable.)
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.
  10. If you skipped the refrigeration or freezing step, the sides of the crust may have sunk down just a bit. Quickly use a fork to gently press the sides back up into their regular height again and they will remain that way after cooling. (You'll have about 5 minutes to do this before it firms up permanently.)
    Straightening the sides
  11. Cool for 5 minutes.
  12. If your filling requires cooking, fill and cook as directed by the recipe.
  13. If your filling is a no-bake filling, place back in the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Once all baking is cool, If you've made your dessert in a tart pan, you will need to invert a bowl, then set the tart on the bowl and pull down the sides. Slide the tart off onto a serving tray.
Side removed

We used this shortbread crust to make a Buttermilk Pie: Crème Brûlée of the South for a friend's Christmas party.

What're are your favorite pie recipes?

1 comment:

  1. This worked great! I didn't have a tart pan so I took a chance on using a regular pie plate. It turned out really well, had a delicious taste and everyone loved it!

    I'm not a baker but I hate store bought pie crusts so I'm glad to finally have an alternative.