Q: What’s the best way to freeze pies for the holidays?
A: It’s a good idea to plan ahead and make some pies now. Here are some tips when freezing pies:
• Unbaked fruit, mince or nut pie — Make as usual except add one extra tablespoon flour or tapioca or 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to juicy fillings to prevent boiling over during baking. Don’t cut vents in top crust. Steam and cool fruits such as apples and peaches to prevent darkening. Freeze in pie pan. Package in freezer ziplocked bags or freezer wrap. Remove from freezer, cut vent holes in upper crust. Place on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake without thawing at 450 degrees, 15-20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees, 20-30 minute or until crust is brown.
• Unbaked fruit pies with cooked filling — Make filling using ClearJel starch (1/4 cup per quart fruit.) Freeze in jars or cartons, leaving 1-inch headspace. Or, put the cooled filling into an unbaked pie crust and freeze. After frozen, wrap in freezer package or ziplocked bags and return to freezer. Thaw the frozen filling and put in a crust. For an unbaked crust, bake at 425 degrees, 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
• Baked fruit, mince, or nut pie — Bake as usual. Cool rapidly. Freeze before packaging. After frozen, wrap in freezer package or ziplocked bags. Remove from freezer, let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Bake in 350 degrees until warm, about 30 minutes.
• Pumpkin pie, unbaked — Prepare pie shell and filling as usual. Chill the filling and crust, then add filling to unbaked crust. Freeze in pan, then package in freezer package or ziplocked bag. Remove from freezer and bake without thawing at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees to finish baking. Note: Unbaked fresh pies that have been frozen have a better fresh fruit flavor than frozen baked pies, but the frozen unbaked fresh pies tend to have a soggy crust.
• In general, pies can be frozen 2-4 months.
— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.