I made a delicious pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving using Trader Joe's triple-ginger gingersnaps. The ginger flavor really complements the pumpkin. Following a basic recipe, I added a fair amount of butter to the ground gingersnaps. Although it was delicious, I'd like to find a way to do this without it being so rich and calorie-laden. So my question is:

Does anyone have experience making a gingersnap pie crust using something other than butter or other fat to bind the crumbs, given that there is already fat in the gingersnaps -- perhaps egg? egg white? water? (Perhaps similar experience with a graham cracker crust could apply.)

  • 1
    When I've made biscuit bases (as we call them in the UK - we usually use them only on the bottom) the recipe cakes for sugar as well as butter. Did yours? You may find a version that does is a little lighter if you can handle the sweetness. Have you tried just using less butter - say about 75% of the stated amount - and pressing the crust firmly into place?
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 8:00
  • The recipe did call for added sugar but I didn't add it because the gingersnaps were plenty sweet. I suppose adding less butter is an option, as long as there is enough to bind the crumbs together when pressed. I'm thinking of trying a combination of butter and egg white to bind.
    – Arlo
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


I have seen some recipes that use milk instead of butter. They would be slightly healthier, but I find that the crust burns easier and feels drier and more brittle. Keep in mind that a lot of the calories come from the ginger snaps that themselves contain sugar and butter. I haven't done the math, but I think the calories from the butter are negligible compared to the calories in the pie filling and the gingersnaps.

For a healthier crust, I would use a base of some unsweetened cracker and mix in the same spices that are in gingersnap cookies when I mix the crumbs with butter. That would cut some calories, while retaining the feel of a butter crust.

  • 1
    I like your idea of creating my own dry mix with something less sweet and rich, and then add the butter for taste and consistency. Also, I think there are some gingersnaps on the market that are less rich than the ones I used, so I should research that. Or a combination of dry ingredients. I think I need to experiment and create my own recipe!
    – Arlo
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 15:11

When I've made biscuit bases (as we call them in the UK - we usually use them only on the bottom) the recipe calls for sugar as well as butter.

As this recipe includes some sugar, I'd keep some in, and offset the sweetness with a pinch of ginger. Sugar is quite effective at binding when cooked, especially with butter. I'd reduce the butter and sugar in roughly equal proportions, adding them gradually until the crumbs come together. You may need to press firmly into the tins. A little flour may help too.

You could probably make up about 2/3 of the gingersnap crumbs into a thinner layer, with less than 2/3 of the butter and sugar, and after pressing that into the pie dish sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top and press again.

I can't see egg working if you want a crisp crust. I've tried to use egg to bind savoury flapjacks (UK term, I guess you'd call them oat bars) and found that too much made them rubbery. In that case cheese got me from rubbery to chewy, but that's no help here.

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