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My complete absence of any genetic talent for pie crust prompted me to learn a remarkable variety of other ways to line pie pans. The tutelage of a natural pastry genius (thanks, Marie) and the invention of the Cuisinart have since enabled me to create an edible standard pie casing if I pay attention; still, you may find this alternative crusty repertoire a convenience or inspiration.

Of course, your filling may be sweet or savory. Choose the crust accordingly. For both sweet and savory, you can:

For a dinner pie or quiche:

For sweet fillings, try:

Or you can link over to yeasted olive oil dough and Freezer Quiche Crusts

Hash Brown Pie
adapted from "The Inn at 410 Bed and Breakfast"

The hash brown "crust" is unique and delicious. Using frozen shredded potatoes allows you to press as much moisture out of the potatoes as possible. Make your own, or find a brand of frozen hash browns with no fat and reasonable amounts of sodium.

9" pie plate (4-6 servings). Double recipe for a 9"x13" pan.

about 2 cups (12 ounces) frozen shredded potatoes potatoes, thawed (1/2 of a 24 oz pkg.)

1-2 tablespoons grated onion, carrot or bell pepper, OPTIONAL

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 9" pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Press thawed potatoes between paper towels to absorb moisture. Make a crust of potatoes by mixing with onion, carrot or bell pepper and by pressing them firmly along bottom and sides of pie plate. Use pastry brush to brush with the 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil. Bake 20 minutes before filling. Prebaking can be done the night before and refrigerated.

Crescent Roll Quiche Crust

Refrigerator Crescent Rolls OR

2 -3 cups Refrigerator Angel Biscuit Dough

Softened butter

Rather bready, but works for the less dainty fillings. The crescent rolls or dough are used as a single sheet of dough, squeezed together at the seams to line your quiche pan. Cover with softened butter and use a fork to prick this crust before you pour in other ingredients.

Bread or Cracker Crumb Crust

Dry toasted breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs (about 2 1/2 cups for 9" crust and topping)

Soft butter or soy margarine

For a crumb crust quiche, butter the pie plate with 2-1/2 tablespoons soft butter, then cover with toasted bread crumbs, pressing them firmly into the butter. Chill well in the freezer, fill with your favorite quiche filling recipe, and bake as directed.

Cheese Pie Crust

9" bottom crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup btter

2 ounces (1/2 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and cheese in large bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water with fork just until flour is moistened. Shape into ball; flatten slightly.

Roll out ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides.

Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Fill and bake according to pie. For baked unfilled pie shell, prepare dough as directed above. Prick crust all over with fork before baking. Bake at 475F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts (1/6 of single crust) Calories: 200, Protein: 4 g, Carbohydrate: 16 g, Fat: 13.3 g, Cholesterol: 33 mg, Sodium: 132 mg, Fiber: 0


Cottage Cheese Crust

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine flour and salt. Cut margarine into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in cottage cheese until it forms a soft dough. May be used immediately or chilled.

Serving size is 1/6 of a pie. There are 93 calories per serving, each containing 7 grams of fat, less than 1 milligram of cholesterol, and 135 milligrams of sodium.

Rice Crust

9"- bake 10 minutes before filling

1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked rice

1 beaten egg or 2 beaten egg whites

salt, pepper, teaspoon green herb, OPTIONAL

Crust: Mix together rice, egg and soy sauce. Spread evenly to cover well-buttered quiche or pie pan, press well against the side. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, fill and nake.

Rice Pizza Crust

Spread this into a 12" / 30 cm pizza pan and prebake at 400F for about 4 minutes before filling. Once you put on the toppings, bake about 15 minutes (till lightly brown).

3 cups rice

1-2 tablespoons oil, OPTIONAL

1-3 tablespoons grated or shredded cheese or soy cheese, OPTIONAL

Toasted Coconut Crust:

In small bowl, combine 2 c flaked coconut with 1/4 c softened butter or margarine. OR 1/2 cup coconut milk or cream. Press into 9" pie pan. Bake at 325F, 20 min or until golden; chill.

Chocolate Coconut Crust:

In medium bowl, combine 1 square (1 oz) melted unsweetened chocolate and 2 tablespoons milk; stir in 2 cups flaked coconut and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. Press into 9" pie pan; chill.

Oatmeal-Coconut Crust

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup softened butter

1/4 cup brown sugar.

Toast oats in a shallow pan at 375 degrees about 7 minutes until golden. Mix in coconut, softened butter, and sugar. Press into 9 inch pie dish

Chocolate Crunch Crust

1/3 cup margarine

3/4 cup chocolate bits

3 cups Rice Crispies, toasted

Combine the above and stir over low heat just until melted. Stir in until coated.

Press in lightly greased 9 inch pie plate and chill.

Crunchy Oat-Nut Crust

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup quick oatmeal

1/2 cup chopped nuts

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup melted butter

Mix together thoroughly. Press into 9 inch plate. Bake at 375*F for about 12 minutes. Cool before filling with any cold filling.

Corn Flake Crumb Crust

1 1/3 cups corn flakes crumbs (takes 3 cups corn flakes)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup melted margarine

Mix together thoroughly. Press into 9 inch plate. May use as is or bake at 375*F for 5 to 7 minutes. Will hold up slightly better and has crisper taste when prebaked.

Spiced Nut Crust

Walnut for pumpkin, pecan for fruit

1 cup flour

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

12-16 nut halves for garnish

Mix the above together thoroughly. Press into 9 inch pie plate. Use a fork to prick the crust.

If desired, press nut halves onto rim of pie crust. Prebake at 350*F for 8 minutes, or fully bake in 15.

Peanut- Sesame Crust

1 cup flour

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil OR extra-light olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 400F.

In food processor combine flour, peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar, and salt. Process until nuts are finely ground. Transfer to large bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together peanut oil, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons ice water until well combined. Make well in center of dry ingredients, add oil mixture and stir with fork until well combined (add another tablespoon of ice water only if necessary for dough to hold together). Shape dough into 1/2"-thick disk.

Roll dough out between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into a 11" circle (1/8" thick).

Transfer dough to 9" tart pan with removable bottom and carefully fit dough into pan. Trim edges even with top of tart pan. Prick bottom all over with tines of a fork.

Line dough with waxed paper or foil and fill with beans, or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Remove waxed paper or foil and weights and continue baking 10 to 12 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown and crisp. Set on a rack to cool completely before filling.

Nutritional Information Per serving: 177 calories, 11g total fat, 1.7g saturated fat, 5.5g monounsaturated fat, 3.3g polyunsaturated fat, 1.2g dietary fiber, 3g protein, 17g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 74mg sodium

Whole Grain Pie Crust

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup ground oatmeal

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

Combine the flour, oatmeal and salt in a bowl. Blend in the oil, then add the water.

Pattycake No Roll Pie Crust

1 1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons milk

6 tablespoons vegetable oil to fill 1/2 cup

Mix directly in your pie plate the flour, sugar and salt. Place the 2 tablespoons of milk in a 1/2 cup measuring cup; fill the 1/2 cup with vegetable oil. Mix together. Pat in your pan. Bake in a 425*F oven until brown.

**NOTE: this is a time saver for cream pies or fresh fruit pies.

Cookie Crumb Crust

Cookies can be chocolate wafers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers

1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs OR 1 cup graham cracker crumbs with 1/2 cup crushed granola

3-6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1/3 cup finely chopped nuts mixed with 2 tablespoons sugar OPTIONAL

Press into 9" pie pan; chill. You can reserve 1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbs to top the filling.

Cocoa Crumb Crust

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup powdered sugar

6 tablespoons melted margarine

Mix thoroughly and press in 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350*F for 8 minutes. Cool.