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Press-In Cookie Crust

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Yields one crust for one 9-1/2-inch tart.

  • 1 cup finely ground cookies (ground in a food processor); choose from one of the following: about 25 chocolate wafers, 8 whole graham crackers, or 35 vanilla wafers
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
Tip:
I prefer Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, Honey Maid Grahams and Nilla Vanilla Wafers for these crusts. If you don't have a food processor, put the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Have ready an ungreased 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

In a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and sugar with a fork until well blended. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and mix with the fork or your fingers until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Put the crumbs in the tart pan and use your hands to spread the crumbs so that they coat the bottom of the pan and start to climb the sides. Use your fingers to pinch and press some of the crumbs around the inside edge of the pan to cover the sides evenly and create a wall a scant 1/4 inch thick. Redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and press firmly to make a compact layer. (I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat base for this task.)

Bake the crust until it smells nutty and fragrant (crusts made with lighter-colored cookies will brown slightly), about 10 min. Set the baked crust on a rack and let cool. The crust can be made up to one day ahead of filling, and stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very pleased with this recipe. It was great with the pumpkin tart. I used homemade graham cracker crumbs (leftover from making homemade graham crackers) and added an extra 1/3 cup for better coverage in my tart pan and a thicker edge that would hold up better. I would be very careful using any packaged cookies as so many have partially hydrogenated oils and other poor quality, cheap, processed ingredients. Be sure to read labels if you choose this route. It takes a little fussing and time to press in the crust but it's worth it. I kept working at it until I was happy. I also used a dark, nonstick tart pan. Came out fine. Baked it at a little lower temp and watched so it did not get over browned. I will make this again and try other recipes in it.

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