My Cheating Pie Crust
We don't eat a lot of pie, having to control calories, sugars and cholesterol with advancing age. But when we do, it's usually a nutritious pie made with pumpkin or sweet potatoes, cherries, blueberries, apples or other fruit, or Fake Cheesecake Pie.
I like lots of filling in my pies; none of those wimpy things with a thick chewy crust and possibly and inch of filling. I have a couple of Watkins large ceramic deep-dish pie plates. They sometimes bring them out at Christmas; on occasion they run out early, often there's some left for sale after the holidays. All come with a scrumptious recipe permanently glazed into the finish.
It normally takes about 1 1/2 of a pie crust recipe for only the bottom crust in one of these big dishes, unless you make it so thin you have problems getting it into the pan in one piece. On many pies like the lo-cal Cheesecake, or a low calorie calcium rich banana-cream pie, I simply line the dish with plain graham crackers, further lowering the calorie count. But some pies, like apple, cherry, pumpkin or other fruit pies just don't seem right without a decent crust.
It's true that Tupperware's hollow rolling pin and pastry sheet with sizes permanently marked on it make much shorter work of pie crust making. But often I'm just too busy to do that. Commercial frozen pie crusts are fine, except even the deep-dish one doesn't hold a lot of filling. The normal size is ridiculous by my standards. For instance, you can just dump a can of pie filling in a frozen crust all right, and have a skinny pie, but if you make up a pumpkin pie with Libby's great recipe using a 12-oz. can of evaporated milk, it will overflow a frozen deep dish pie shell.
So here's a secret. Take one frozen pie shell out of the freezer and let it warm up a little, or stick it in the oven (which is pre-heating) for a half minute or so. You want it to still be a little stiff, but pliable without breaking. Loosen the shell from the sides all around, pulling up a little without breaking it (if it cracks, don't worry right now)..
When the edges and sides are loose, put a dinner plate over it loosely, then turn if over. Shake a little and pull on the edges until it comes out upside down on the plate. It may be a little crumpled, but just straighten it out a bit. Now, spray the ceramic pie plate with cooking spray or lightly oil it. Turn it upside down over the plate and flip it over again. Straighten it out again. It will be a little short and have some cracks; not to worry! With the flat of your hand, press from the middle out towards the edges to thin it out and shove it up the sides. Press upwards on the sides with your fingers, pinching together any cracks or holes. By this time it will be warm enough to do what you want with it.
Result? A very thin pie crust (less calories per serving) that you didn't have to make a mess to prepare. Throw the aluminum pan in the recycles or save it for crafts. Fill the pie with your favorite (large size) recipe and you'll have a pie that's mostly nutritious, tasty filling. If you take it to a party serve it to guests, no one would guess it wasn't home made. Accept compliments with a smile and a thank you (you're forgiven if you add "It was easy...").