Making a shortcrust pastry pie crust can be quite a bit of work. You need to knead together the butter and flour, add your other wet ingredients, leave it to cool, etc. But luckily, we humans have found an even easier way to make a pie crust! Just use something that’s already been baked for you: cookies!
The great advantage of using cookies is that you can use a type you like the flavour of, but also, that the crust doesn’t require any baking anymore (although in some cases you might still bake the pie as a whole!). It’s a brilliant shortcut and one we enjoy using especially with cookies that have a strong flavor from themselves such as Oreo cookies.
Let’s introduce: the cookie crust
In order to discuss cookie crusts, let’s start with an example. How does this type of crust work? Most of the recipes consists of crushing down the cookies and mixing them with melted butter. This mixture is then pressed on the bottom of a baking tray and baked in the oven. For example:
Cookie crust, why?
Why use a cookie crust and not one made of flour, butter, etc.? It seems that this type of crust is often used for pies with a very soggy and moist filling. For example with a caramel layer, or a cheese cake which is super moist at the start.
These soggy fillings often result in soggy pie crusts. For a short crust pastry crust that kind of ruins the whole structure. However, it seems as if the cookie crusts are slightly more resistant and aren’t affected as badly. That is, even if they get kind of soggy, they still taste good.
Cookie crusts give flavour!
Another important reason for reason a cookie crust is the flavour itself. Using the right type of cookie can really enhance the overall pie you make.
In the example of the Oreo crust this is obvious. The Oreo’s contain a lot of flavour which contributes to the overall experience. A common example in Dutch pies is the use of ‘Bastognekoeken’. (The photo of the pie at the post of this post is a cheesecake with a cookie crust, made from exactly those cookies.) These cookies have a slight cinamon flavour and a good caramelisation of the sugars which give them a very distinct flavour.
Why the butter?
Cookies provide flavour and texture to a pie. But just baking cookies in the oven will not give a strong enough crust to support the rest of the pie. Instead, it will be very crumbly and prone to falling apart. This is why the butter is added. The butter acts as some sort of a glue and holds the crumbs together. Of course, butter will also give some flavour.
Baking a cookie crust (or not)
That leaves us with the last part, baking the crust. It is not necessary to bake a cookie crust. You can also use it chilled. However, I did bake my crust. Reason to bake it nevertheless is two fold. First of all, you can evaporate some moisture which can make the crust even more crunchy. Furthermore, the heat will initiate chemical reactions contributing to the flavour of your crust.
- 10 Oreo's
- 20g butter
- Crush the Oreo cookies (for example with a food processor or a rolling pin).
- Melt the butter and mix with the cookies.
- Cover a baking tin with baking paper and then evenly spread out the cookie mixture. Press it down hard so it forms a tight crust.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes.
Want to have some hands-on tips on how to make a great cookie crust? Here are several suggestions: Crazy for Crust, Sally’s Baking Addiction and Craftsy. I didn’t come with all of this myself, some of the sources I used: On Food and Cooking from Harold McGee, SeriousEats and Food52.