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Popular recipes for graham cracker pie crust are generally based on Nabisco Honey Maid or similar mass-market, not-really-graham-flour-crackers.

Example recipe (American measurements):

1.5 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tbs melted butter
Combine ingredients. Press into pie pan. Blind bake for 11 to 14 minutes.

Because I live next door to a natural foods market, though, what I can most easily are all-organic, real-graham-flour crackers (Midel). These have less sugar and shortening, and more whole wheat than the Nabisco version. I also appreciate the ingredient quality of the "all-natural" brand.

My question is: how should I adapt the standard pie crust recipe to work with this kind of "healthier" graham cracker?

I tried adding slightly more sugar and butter to the standard recipe, but the resulting pie crust was still too dry, crumbly and whole-wheat tasting.

Note: I'm not making any claim as to the health value of different brands of cracker. "all-natural" and "healhier" are claims on the packaging of the crackers. I also don't care about the sugar/fat content of the resulting pie crust; the filling has enough to make counting nutrients pointless. I'm just trying to recreate the correct texture with the ingredients which are readily available to me.

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I'll admit, I'm a bit confused...it seems like you're adding back in all the stuff that is the difference between the two versions. –  rfusca Mar 17 '12 at 21:55
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Yea if you are adding all the "bad" ingredients back, why are you even using the "healthier" graham crackers? Even so, regular graham cracker crusts are pretty crumbly too. Also don't increase the amount of sugar if you just want to have the graham cracker bind better. Just use a little more butter. That's generally the "binder" in graham crackers recipes. –  Jay Mar 18 '12 at 2:21
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Jay, I don't actually believe that less butter/sugar is "healthier", at least not in a way which is relevant to an already high-saturated-fat pie. –  FuzzyChef Mar 18 '12 at 19:38
    
rfusca, apparently I'm not, because the texture didn't come out the same. Besides, in my book there's a difference (in flavor and quality) between butter, and hydrogenated vegetable oil and preservatives. –  FuzzyChef Mar 18 '12 at 19:39
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1 Answer 1

I have used Midel brand ginger snaps, graham crackers, and lemon snaps in crust recipes and they all happen to perform well in standard recipes. They do in fact have a better taste with respect to the snaps; the graham crackers I didn't notice much return on investment. The wholesome ingredients are not detrimental to their ability to be pressed into a shell.

I would recommend trying the recipe as-is first with the Midel cookies. My guess is that you are concerned that they will be too dry or something to that effect, or would crumble rather than bind together. For a shell like this I would be sure to parbake and grease the pan with shortening rather than any kind of spray. When you remove the crust, if it seems drier than usual, I would brush a minor amount of canola oil over top.

If you want to improve on this with respect to things you can likely buy at a natural food market, I would begin by greasing the pan with coconut oil and brushing with walnut or almond oil oil. This will also add $3 to the cost of your crust.

In general, Midel bakes well as far as my experience has gone.

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As a side-note, the recipes I have used for snap crusts have come from Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; to my recollection they do not deviate substantially from standard crust ratios, they just depend on vegan ingredients –  mfg Mar 20 '12 at 14:26
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