All You Need Is A Second Pie Pan For Perfect Crumb Crusts

Whether filled with fruit or nuts, whether sporting pudding or curd, whether topped with meringue or whipped cream, a well-made pie is absolutely delicious. A true VIP in the world of desserts, pie ranks up there with other classics such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream as a treat that those of us with a sweet tooth would happily indulge in at basically any time of day. And, we might argue, homemade pies can truly delight the palate, as they can be made with our very favorite ingredients and all our loving attention.

Still, not everyone is up to the task of making homemade pie, and home bakers' difficulties with the sweet treat often boil down to one factor — that pesky crust. While a perfectly made pie crust is delicate, flaky, and crispy, this essential, anchoring part of the beloved pastry all too often turns out tough, doughy and underbaked, burnt and overbaked, or some less-than-appetizing combination thereof.

Thank goodness, then, for cookie crumb crusts. A simpler option that almost never fails even inexperienced bakers, crumb crusts typically consist of cookie crumbs, melted butter, and maybe a little sugar, and that's it. Taking no time at all to prepare and almost impossible to mess up, they're a great option for many types of pies — but can still be prone to uneven thickness, due to how they're typically made.

A flat, even cookie crumb crust can be yours with this tip

What do we love about cookie crumb crusts? How quick and simple they are to prepare. What can be frustrating about them? How they tend to vary in thickness along the bottom and sides of the pie pan, leading to a crust-to-filling ratio that can be less than ideal.

This issue is due to how crumb crusts are usually made. Typically, you'll mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl, then dump the sandy mixture into the awaiting pie plate and use your hands to pat the crumbs flat into the bottom of the plate and up its sides. Sure, some recipes will call for techniques such as using a measuring cup to pat the mixture into place, but that's about as technical as these crusts get.

If you love the taste and texture of crumb crusts but prefer a more even result, then reach for a second pie plate the next time you bake. Once you've loosely patted the crumbs into place with your hands, stack a slightly smaller pie plate on top — disposable aluminum ones work great for this — and press down on that with your hands. The evenly distributed pressure will ensure that the crumbs press into place, creating a more uniform layer that's sure to delight in a banana cream pie, key lime pie, or cheesecake.