Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour


Time was when you could recognize a pie by its crust. It was either a flaky crust made with fat and flour, designed to hold a fruit or a cream filling in place so that it could be cut into wedges and served. Or, it was made of finely smashed graham cracker or cookie crumbs held together with sugar and butter. A crust gave you a clue as to whether you were being served a pudding or a pie.

Either way, crusts are a bit of nuisance to make. It must have been clever women in a hurry, who developed the first crustless pie. They are neither better nor worse that regular pies; just different.

Soda Cracker Pie

A kind of a never-fail meringue that makes a great base for berries, bananas, sliced peaches or kiwi fruit. Or just top with whipped cream or ice cream, that's good, too.

3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
16 soda crackers, rolled fine (the old-fashioned square crackers or their equivalent)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar. Combine cracker crumbs and baking powder; fold into egg whites, together with nuts and vanilla. Spread into pie pan and bake 30 minutes. If you wish you can cover the "crust" with a layer of sweetened fruit now and chill several hours before topping with sweetened whipped cream. Or, add fruit just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Pecan-Date Cake Pie

Here is a little sweetheart that couldn't make up its mind what to be in this world.

6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; set aside. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Be certain to do the egg whites before the yolks because if you have any fat at all on your beaters or whip, you won't be able to get any volume from your egg whites. Add sugar and blend well. Combine cracker crumbs with baking powder, nuts and dates and then stir into yolk mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites and pour into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Crustless Brownie Pie

A simple, make-ahead, delicious dessert--quick and sooo tasty.

3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup fine chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Unsweetened chocolate, optional

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form; gradually add sugar beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in crumbs, nuts and vanilla. Bake about 35 minutes. Cool thoroughly. Spread top with sweetened whipped cream and chill well, 3 to 4 hours. Decorate with curls of shaved unsweetened chocolate made by running a vegetable peeler over chocolate. Or top with ice cream; mint or pistachio is especially pretty and good. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Boston Banana Cream Pie

A cake that has the crust to present itself as a pie. That's Boston for you! But, so good it is worth every second you spend making it.

Cake layers
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 firm-ripe banana

Chocolate glaze:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons boiling hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and dust with flour. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat together butter and sugar until lightened. Add yolks one at a time, beating well after each; then beat in vanilla. Add half of flour mixture and mix at low speed until just blended. Add buttermilk, mixing until just combined, and then add remaining flour mixture, mixing at low speed until smooth. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold stiff peaks, then fold into batter gently but thoroughly. Divide batter between pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes. Layers will be 1/4 to 1-inch high. Cool in pans on racks 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges, then invert onto racks and cool completely.

Custard: Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt and 2 tablespoons milk. Bring remaining milk to a boil and then add to yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour custard into saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, whisking constantly, then continue to boil, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Glaze: Stir together evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a small heavy saucepan and simmer, stirring constantly, until caramel-colored and slightly thickened, about 6 minutes (be careful not to burn). Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, whisking until smooth. Stir together cocoa, hot water and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into glaze. Chill, covered, until cool, about 15 minutes.

Assemble: Place one cake layer, upside down, on a plate. Whisk custard until smooth and spread 2/3 cup on top. Cut banana into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange evenly over custard, then spread remaining custard over banana. Top with remaining cake layer, upside down. Pour chocolate glaze over top allowing some to run down to plate. Makes 8 servings.

It takes a lot of crust to face the world as a crustless pie!


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