Forget Flour: Roll Out Your Pie Dough in Cookie Crumbs

November 23, 2016

Hidden in the third step of EmilyC's recipe for Gingered Cranberry Pear Pie is a brilliant tip we might just apply to every pie from here on out: Roll out the dough in a pile of crushed cookies.

It's fitting that Emily uses gingersnap crumbs in her pie, which is filled with cranberries that have been simmered with ginger (and a lot of it: 1/2 cup, thinly sliced), but you could use any kind of cookie crumbs that fit with your pie's flavor profile.

The original tip, in fact, comes from Martha Stewart, who rolls the dough for her buttermilk pie in graham cracker crumbs. And, raring to experiment, I recently made Erin McDowell's Buttermilk Sweet Potato Pie but rolled the dough in pulverized Saltines.

"It’s the perfect solution when you can’t decide between a pastry and gingersnap crust"—or any crumb crust, for that matter—"and the crumbs make the dough a breeze to roll out," says Emily. (You don't have to use any flour!)

Swap out flour for gingersnap crumbs. Photo by James Ransom

Rolling the dough in crumbs also adds more texture (ensuring a crisp, snappy crust, but one that doesn't shatter apart like a typical crumb shell), and also provides an obvious opportunity to introduce another flavor (seasoning your pie dough with spices or chopped herbs is also an option, of course).

SPP from @emcdowell but with a weirdo crust rolled in crushed Saltine Crackers h/t @emily_c99

A photo posted by sarahjampel (@sarahjampel) on

There are as many types of cookies (and crackers, and other crunchy-crumblies) as there are pies, which means that the possibilities for pairing a crumb-coated crust with your favorite pie are, well, infinite. Here are a few ideas we're excited to try:

And would I use crushed Tate's cookies, bake and cool the crust, then fill it with David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet? A resounding yes.

Fancy any of the tools you see in the above photos? They're available in our Shop:

What's the best pie tip you've learned this year? Share it with us in the comments.

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I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


witloof August 7, 2018
Rearing to experiment? I think you meant raring to experiment.
OtterQueen November 24, 2016
Hmmm.... I'm thinking a gingersnap crust for a fresh peach pie this summer. Or maybe a fresh strawberry pie made with an orange shortbread crust, topped with Cointreau whipped cream. Great. Now I need pie.
Kearin A. November 20, 2016
Amaretti + Pear sounds perfect! Also leftover Christmas spice cookies could be used up when rolling out crust for any fruit pies - it's a win-win.
Sarah J. November 20, 2016
Great idea!
drbabs November 19, 2016
Pumpkin pie with gingersnap cookie crumbs.....making for Thanksgiving!
AntoniaJames November 18, 2016
Akin to using cake crumbs for dusting cake pans instead of flour (or bread crumbs, as the Italians always do) . . . . toast them gently while the oven is heating so they're nice and dry, but be sure to cool them a bit - it doesn't take long if you toss them on a plate -- so they don't melt the butter you're using the grease the pan. I keep thinly cut end slices of pound cake tightly wrapped in the freezer for just this purpose. Any plain white/yellow/spice cake made with whole eggs will work. ;o)
amysarah November 18, 2016
When my kids were young and cookies happened on a regular basis, I kept any leftover small broken pieces/crumbs in a freezer bag - to be used as an ice cream topping, mixed into streusel for fruit crisp and so on. Wish I'd thought of this then!
ChefJune November 18, 2016
That presumes you either HAVE cookies on hand you wish to turn into crumbs, or you have to MAKE cookies in order to roll out your pie crust? Why does that seem counter-productive? Delicious idea, tho....
Sarah J. November 18, 2016
Yep, you do have to have cookies. But I'd probably just pick up a box of my favorite when I'm at the store getting the other ingredients!
Riddley G. November 18, 2016
Tate's cookies ice cream pie <3.