Frozen Pie Dillema
Posted: 13 October 2009 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have been having some difficulty baking pies from frozen.  In most cases I am baking the pie in a pyrex pan on a baking sheet on the lowest rack and starting at 425 F for 10 mins., then lowering the temp to 400 F for the remainder.  Two problems have arisen, the pie takes 2 + hours (in the case of apple or cherry).  I bake from the start with a pie shield and tent with foil at the first sign of browning.  The crust is overdone way before the filling is bubbling thickly.  I use a Dot2 thermometer to check the oven temp.  Any thoughts???  I’m thinking I may try freezing the filling in the shape of a pie plate and then thawing slightly before assembling the pie.  I’m definitely getting a well baked crust…but too well baked.

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Posted: 13 October 2009 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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400 + degrees is a little too high for a frozen pie. When I bake from frozen, I start the pie at 350 degrees, and bake it on a well preheated pizza stone. Once the filling reaches 140 degrees in the middle, I pull out the pie, egg wash it, put it back in the oven, and raise the temperature to 400 degrees, uncovered, and bake it until the filling bubbles and reaches a temperature of at least 200 degrees. The higher temperature at the end ensures a crisp and full baked crust.

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Posted: 13 October 2009 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Roxanne,
Thanks for the suggestion.  I was following Rose’s guidelines (unless I’ve interpreted them incorrectly), but I’m going to try this next time…it sounds like I need to change it up.  Does the high heat at the end cause any issues with the crust not setting first (that is, is the bottom soggy—I definitely prefer too crispy over too soggy)?

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Posted: 13 October 2009 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Sherrie - 13 October 2009 11:32 PM

Hi Roxanne,
Thanks for the suggestion.  I was following Rose’s guidelines (unless I’ve interpreted them incorrectly), but I’m going to try this next time…it sounds like I need to change it up.  Does the high heat at the end cause any issues with the crust not setting first (that is, is the bottom soggy—I definitely prefer too crispy over too soggy)?

Rose’s guidelines have never worked for me in frozen pies. I always got burnt crust before the filling cooked all the way through. I find soggy crusts occur when the filling isn’t thick enough. You can also help prevent a soggy crust in a frozen pie by spreading a thin layer of graham cracker or animal cracker crumbs on the bottom before putting the filling in (this is a trick I learned from Cook’s Country Magazine, when they did a feature on frozen blueberry pie). The crust begins to set at 350 right before the filling reaches 140, when you turn the heat up it finishes baking and begins to brown and crisp. I find delaying the browning and crisping until the filling is about half-way done prevents a burned crust. Keep the pie in the oven at 400 on the pizza stone until the crust is completely browned and baked all the way through (easy to determine if you’re using a pyrex pie plate).

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Posted: 13 October 2009 11:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Interesting.  When I made the peach galette this summer without freezing it turned out soooo awesome, but I love the convenience of frozen pies—you can have a great (if baked properly) dessert and meal without slaving all day in the kitchen to prepare both.

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Posted: 14 October 2009 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I have to admit, I don’t make many frozen pies. If I have bring pies to some gathering, I’ll spread the baking over 2-3 days. The crust can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, and the filling can be made the day before and kept refrigerated (I usually end up with better fruit pie fillings if I prep them the day before up to the point of reducing the syrup). Most pies can fully assembled and baked up to one day ahead of time.

The only time I’ve really had to deal with baking frozen pies is when I had to put together a fruit pie wedding reception: 60 assorted fruit pies. I was assembling and freezing pies for a month, and then spent 2 days baking them all. (I turned my oven into a bit of a brick oven to bake them all evenly.)

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Posted: 14 October 2009 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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When I bake a pie from frozen in a glass pyrex, I dip the bottom of the pyrex in a sheet pan filled with hot tap water for maybe 20-30 seconds, so the pyrex won’t crack when it hits the hot oven. 

I have taken pies baked from frozen out of the oven when they were bubbling near the edges but not in the center, because they had been in for so much longer than Rose indicates and the crust was getting so dark (even with tenting).  I was worried that the cornstarch wouldn’t be set, but it wasn’t a problem. 

Roxanne’s method sounds worth a try…  Thanks!

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Posted: 04 January 2010 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’ve been freezing fruit pies a long time. I usually bake them first - but only till the crust is lightly brown.  Let the pie cool completely and wrap with wax paper over the top, heavy foil, then Stretch-tight film. 

To heat them unwrap the pie and put it in a cold oven.  Set to 350? and heat about 30-40 minutes.  The pie doesn’t need to get hot - just warm inside to be sure it is thawed.  The crust will brown a bit more (hence the lightly browned when first baked) so you can use crust shields.

I always use a glass pyrex for pie.  It can go from freezer to oven without cracking because it is warming up along with the oven - not put into a hot oven. And the clear glass gives me a nicely browned bottom crust.

I probably do 10 fruit pies a year this way with no problem. My routine in the summer is to bake 2 pies at once, one to eat and one to freeze.  Then I have an assortment of pies to pull out all fall and winter.

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