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Jun 11, 2008 09:38 AM

Freezing pies and suggestions for the great pie buffet

I'm getting married in September. The plan is a beach bbq, very casual, with trays of ribs, pulled pork, bbq chicken, cornbread and cole slaw from our favorite place, plus lemonade, watermelon and so on. For dessert, we're having, instead of cake (because really, I don't much like cake), a pie buffet. I can't imagine anything that would be more appealing than a long table piled with pie.

Since this is very much a DIY affair, I'm wondering which pies I could freeze unbaked beforehand. Have people done this? How successful is it? Also, I was hoping CHers might have some ideas about the number of pies and the types. Apple, wild blueberry, peach and lemon meringue seem like the most obvious choices, plus the chocolate French silk pie that was my family's favorite growing up. I make a cardamom pear pie with a crumble top that I like very much, and of course there are the nut pies, though those seem seasonally inappropriate to me. Maybe some other sort of chiffon? I'm planning for about fifty people, and I have some reserve pie-makers willing to assist. Any suggestions?

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  1. I like crisp, flaky pie crust and my immediate impression is that whether you freeze the pies baked or unbaked, they crust texture will soften with the filling in it. I have successfully frozen fresh fruit like apples, peaches, sour cherries, etc. in ziploc or FoodSaver bags, then frozen separately unbaked pie crust rounds. It takes little time to assemble and bake fresh and my theory is that would produce a superior product. I can't imagine you could freeze the lemon filling or the meringue and don't imagine the chocolate filling for French Silk will work either. But, as I said, you could make the various crusts, assemble them between sheets of plastic or foil and freeze them. Thoughts?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      Thanks - I certainly have frozen pie crust (unrolled, unfilled), and I know I can't freeze lemon meringue. But I know some people do freeze fruit pies unbaked. I've never tried it myself. I was hoping to find out if what you fear is true: frozen pie = mushy crust. Since the French Silk pie and lemon meringue will need to be done the day before, I would love to be able to have the fruit pies finished - but only if the crusts would be good.

      1. re: curiousbaker

        though i've only frozen unbaked apple pies, i found them to be really waterery after baked...for some reason, the flour didn't set up inside...maybe i needed to add more flour, but it kinda spooked me on baking frozen unbaked pies. since then, i've only frozen baked apple pie that i've re-baked till warm the day of and have had no issues with wateryness or soggy crust.

    2. What fun! We had big dutch-oven cobblers at our wedding, and they were a huge hit.
      I freeze pie crusts in the pans, and fruit with sugar, cinnamon, whatever separately. Thaw, fill and bake with great results. I especially like the "America's Best Pie Crust Recipe" for freezing - it just shatters under your fork once it's baked. I can post the recipe if you like. My friend who owned a bakery always froze the pies unfilled, so I suspect that's what you want to do. You can always do a trial run or two, to test for best results.

      I would include a pecan pie - perfect with your menu of southern/soul food! Rubarb-berry pies are good, too. Your pear with cardamon sounds devine...mind sharing the recipe?

      1 Reply
      1. re: kmr

        I would love to have the "America's Best Pie Crust Recipe" for freezing

      2. I've prepped fruit pie filling and froze in a pie dish lined with plastic wrap or foil so the filling can pop out and be placed into the crust and baked. Lemon curd or vanilla/chocolate/butterscotch custard can made a day or two ahead of time for cream pies. The base for something like pecan pie can be made a day ahead of time too.

        1. What a great idea.

          I would add pumpkin to the list. Maybe even a low sugar version in case there are any diabetics. And on the other extreme I would add at least one sugar pie (made with maple syrup) for serious sweet tooth. If you search a French Canadian recipes site there is bound to be a recipe or six.

          And my personal favourite -- rhubarb strawberry.

          As for the freezing. I have had better luck freezing tarts than pies.

          1. Key lime
            coconut creme
            Both favorites of mine but also easy to assemble.

            1 Reply
            1. re: othervoice

              I second the Key lime pie. It's best made a day ahead of time and chilled. Best ever recipe is on the back of Nellie & Joe's Key lime juice bottle (although I TRIPLE all the filling ingredients, but make just 2 pies).