Erin French’s Graham Cracker Pie

By Yankee Magazine

May 06 2021


This simple graham cracker pie recipe, filled with creamy vanilla pudding, comes from Weekends with Yankee guest chef Erin French of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine. 

In her 2017 cookbook, The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine, Erin French writes: “My Gram wasn’t the best cook, but pies were her thing. I can still taste the sugary graham cracker crust she’d press into the tins and then top off with creamy vanilla pudding. We’d sell them at the diner, finished off with a mountain of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. I dress up my version with a spray of Johnny-jump-ups or any other edible flower I can find.”

We adapted French’s recipe to put the deliciousness of a perfectly made graham cracker crust front and center. We love how she elevates a simple dish with attention to presentation and technique. It’s typical of French’s approach to food: Start with great ingredients, distill the flavor, make it beautiful.


6 servings

For the Crust


11 graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons salted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350° and set a rack to the lower-third position.

In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, sugar, and butter until well ground. Press the crust mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until the crust is set but not browned, about 10 minutes, then allow it to cool.

For the Filling


3 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out with a spoon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream and edible flowers, for garnish (optional)


Heat the milk, vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens, 6 to 8 minutes.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Slowly whisk 1/3 cup of the milk mixture into the yolks to gradually raise their temperature. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until just bubbling. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and stir in the vanilla extract. Remove the bean.

Pour the filling into the crust and let it set in the refrigerator, at least 5 hours and up to overnight. Slice and serve topped with whipped cream and edible flowers, if you like.