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How to freeze pie and pie crust

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Making cake from scratch is not easy. It can be a time-consuming, messy affair, leaving both the kitchen and the cook dusted with flour. It’s a particularly hard task if you also prepare the rest of the meal. And for those who have leftover dessert after a dinner party, the danger of food waste creeps in. Fortunately, I have good news: many cakes – baked or unbaked – freeze beautifully.

Whether you want to get a head start on your baking or save a leftover dessert for later, here’s what you need to know about freezing baked pies whole or sliced, unbaked pies, and pie dough.

7 pie crust tips for tender, flaky results every time

If you’re going to make the effort to make your own pie crust, you might as well make extra. Once you’ve formed the dough into discs and wrapped it in plastic, instead of letting the pie dough rest in the fridge, add another layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil or leave the whole thing in a zip lock bag or airtight container before storing it in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost the dough discs in the refrigerator and roll out as desired.

If you want to take it a step further, you can put the dough in a pie pan, shrink it to your liking, then wrap it up that way and freeze it to make your life a lot easier when you’re craving pie. When the time comes, let the pie crust thaw in the refrigerator and use as if fresh, or fill and bake without thawing completely with a few extra minutes of baking time added to account for the crust being frozen.

Step-by-step pie crust guide

You can freeze the types of cake

Fruit pies, such as apple, cherry, peach, or blueberry, freeze beautifully, as do pecan pies. They can be frozen, baked or unbaked, the latter of which can be a great way to get ahead when hosting a dinner party or big holiday meal. “Fruit pies that have been frozen have a denser, jampier texture than those baked right out of the gate, but they’re still generally the same thickness and consistency,” wrote cookbook author Stella Parks in Serious Eats. On the other hand, pre-baked pies that are then frozen don’t have the same crispy, flaky crust as pre-frozen, but in my experience they are still delicious, especially when reheated in the oven and/or served à la mode. .

Most cream, custard and meringue pies do not freeze well. People are on both sides of the fence when it comes to whether you can freeze pumpkin pie. The problem is that such pies tend to break down in texture when frozen due to the high water content found in most recipes. (As such, denser sweet potato pies usually freeze quite well.)

Pumpkin pie or pecan pie? You don’t have to choose with these recipes.

The best way to freeze cakes

Whether baked or not, whole or sliced, first place the uncovered pie on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about two hours, before wrapping in a layer or two of plastic wrap. You can then place the pie in a layer of foil, a resealable bag, or an airtight container for extra protection against freezer burn if you prefer. (The same method works for freezing cakes.) For optimal freshness, you’ll want to consume them within a few months.

Thaw already baked cakes in the refrigerator before enjoying them. For unbaked pies, bake straight from the freezer at the temperature specified in the recipe. They will take longer than the recipe calls for, but exactly how much longer—usually anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes—depends on the recipe, so it’s best to use visual cues to determine doneness, such as a bubbling filling for fruit pies. Remember, if part of the cake starts to darken too quickly, cover it with foil.

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