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Idea for crunchy crust comes from Betty Crocker cookbook

| Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004

For H.H., Allison Park, who asked for a pastry recipe for a certain pumpkin chiffon pie. From Nancy Hurley, Franklin Park, who says this crust is from the 1968 edition of "Betty Crocker's Pie and Pastry Cookbook." The book says, "Use your favorite kind of nuts to make this delightful crunch crust. It's especially good with an ice-cream filling as a contrasting texture."

Crunchy Nut Crust

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, plus more for greasing pan

  • 1 1/2 cups ground nuts

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie pan.

Mix the nuts, sugar and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Press the mixture firmly and evenly against the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool before filling.

For R.F., Sewickley, who asked for a recipe for royal icing that doesn't use raw egg whites. From L.Y., Pine. Sherry Yard, the pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck, writes in her cookbook, "The Secrets of Baking," that royal icing is available in instant powdered form at specialty stores. The following recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum in her book "Rose's Christmas Cookies." Meringue powder is available at stores that carry cake-decorating and candy-making supplies.

Royal Icing

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder

  • 6 tablespoons warm water (3 fluid ounces)

  • 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar (lightly spooned into the cup), more if needed

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meringue powder with the warm water. Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar and beat, preferably with the whisk beater, at low speed, until the sugar is moistened. Beat at high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted, from 5 to 7 minutes. The tips of the peaks should curve slightly. If necessary, more confectioners' sugar can be added.

The icing keeps as long as three days in an airtight container at room temperature. Rebeat lightly.

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