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Nov 28, 2009 04:23 AM

Freezing Unbaked Apple Pie

I just baked a frozen homemade apple pie. The crust was delicious but the filling was incredibly watery. The pie had been frozen for a grand total of 48 hours. The thickener called for in the recipe was quick-cooking tapioca but it didn't go a very good job and I didn't like the little tapioca balls floating in my pie. How would another thickener such as cornstarch or flour have held up in the freezer. I certainly like the idea of having a pie in the freezer but not if the results are unsatisfactory. Any tips on how to adjust a fruit pie recipe for the freezer would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Did you allow the fruit and sugar to sit with the tapioca mixed into it for 15 minutes or so before filling and freezing the pie? I have frozen raw pies made with tapioca and have not had this problem. But, since I never use anything other than tapioca to thicken pie, I can't say if cornstarch or flour would have worked better for you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: visciole

      The local church ladies used to do a marathon apple pie making. Pies were made in the fall when apples were fresh. The apples were frozen in pie sized amounts. Then in the summer the pies were actually made and frozen to bake Labor Day weekend. The apples never had a chance to defrost. I'm not a pie baker but I would guess that you could try a different apple variety. The church ladies always used Cortlands. Apples like MacIntosh are very watery. What kind did you use?

      1. re: dfrostnh

        I used half Cortlands and half Granny Smith. The Cortlands I cut into chunks so they wouldn't break down completely in the baking process and I sliced the Granny Smiths.

      2. Cornstarch would not hold up so well, but flour would. However, I suspect that you may not have cooked your pie long enough, or hot enough. I always freeze my UNCOOKED apple pie with very successful results. I do not use any thickeners though as apples have pectin in them which is usually sufficient to hold it together so that it's not too watery, so I have never found it truly necessary. I pop the frozen UNBAKED pie into a 350 degree oven for at least an hour. Generally, I put it into the oven when we sit down for our meal and serve it hot at the end of the meal. Again, I only do this with uncooked pies that I make. Usually cooked pies are better if they are simply defrosted and then warmed a little. You didn't say whether the pie was already baked or not.

        EDITED TO ADD: I see you put that it was unbaked in your title. Apologies and thanks to The Dairy Queen

        2 Replies
        1. re: koshermasterchef

          In her title, she calls it a frozen unbaked apple pie.

          Question for you, are you saying you pop the frozen UNBAKED pie into a 350 oven without defrosting it?

          For the most part, if you freeze pies, is the general rule to freeze them unbaked or is apple pie unique in that respect? Or, does it really just depend?

          Thank you,


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Thank you for pointing that out. I'm working on my laptop and everything is kinda small! Yes, I pop the frozen, UNBAKED pie into the oven WITHOUT defrosting it. I always freeze my pies unbaked as I find the results to be superior to when they've been baked. The next time you're in the frozen section of your department store, take a look at all the frozen pie options. All of those pies are unbaked. Sometimes the instructions for those pies are helpful for your own success with your own frozen pies, so check out the baking instructions on the boxes for pies that you like to make. You can experiment a little to adapt for home, but most of the fruit pies can successfully handle freezing when unbaked. I wrap my pies first with plastic wrap, then with foil and then I pop them into a large plastic resealable bag. I have no idea if this does anything other than ensures that "smells" of any kind in my freezer will not affect the pie crust flavor.

        2. I started the pie at 425 degrees for 15 mins and then dropped the temp to 375 degrees and baked for an additional hour. I also baked it on a sheet, not only to catch drippings but to make sure the bottom got cooked, too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Velda Mae

            It sounds like you did this properly. Which means that the tapioca broke down. As I said above, cornstarch would break down too. Adding a couple of tablespoons of flour to the recipe will probably take care of the sogginess. Not that they're readily available, but I use MacIntosh apples whenever I can. I find the results with them the best. I don't think Granny Smith have enough pectin to stop the "runny" effect. Also, something that is not commonly known is that sugar is actually considered a "liquid" in baking, as it becomes a liquid when cooked. Your recipe may actually work better if you cut back on the sugar and use a few sweeter apples, instead.

          2. I have read (probably Cook's Illustrated) but not tried recipes calling for the fruit to be tossed with sugar and lemon juice, left to macerate, then put into a colander over a bowl to drain. The juices are boiled down to thicken before being put back into the filling. I can't recall offhand what or how much thickening was added.

            Another method they gave was to cook down the fruit filling before assembling the pie.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              I tried that method, which I saw in Rose Levy Berenbaum's book and didn't notice any difference in flavor or sogginess.

            2. I had some similar failures with fruit pies using cornstarch. The failures were sporadic though and not consistent. Then I switched to combining equal amounts of flour and tapioca starch for the thickener. Maybe this is faulty reasoning but I figured that if one failed, at least the other might hold up. I haven't had another failure since then.