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I just made a pie (English-style) that involved lining a '* wide, 2" deep springform pan with puff pastry. I cut two 8" circles of pastry dough, and then several strips. The critical fail was that I couldn't get the strips of pastry I was using to line the sides to stay up; they just wanted to slump down into the bottom. My sweetie had to help with me trying to keep the pastry up while she filled it, and even so it looks like someone sat on it.

The two ways I know to avoid this aren't accessible. One is to just use extra pastry, enough that it hangs over the edge of the pan, and then trim later. Thing is, with the high price of all-butter puff pastry these days, I needed to use every scrap; there was no excess. The other is to cut all the pieces and then stick them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to stiffen them up ... but our freezer is packed to the roof with leftovers.

So, is there some third way I could have worked around this that I don't know about? Maybe cutting the dough differently?

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    Hint: if you move a pack or two of leftovers from the freezer to the fridge for 15-20 minutes, the frozen stuff won't even start thawing. You can easily chill your pie, then re-stock the freezer.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 16, 2023 at 10:12
  • How cold was the pastry? Straight from the fridge? For home-made, I've been known to let it warm so I can roll it, then put it back while I get on with the rest. I've never made a pie by that method though, with separate sides. Mine are just two-piece, bottom/sides & top.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 16, 2023 at 15:54
  • From the fridge, but then rolled out, which let it warm up quite a bit. I did think about sticking it back in the fridge, but then it would have needed to stay there for an hour or more.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 16, 2023 at 17:25
  • @rumtscho consider posting that as an answer; might be the best one I get. Certainly it would be useful to other readers.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 16, 2023 at 17:34

2 Answers 2

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It seems to be a universal kitchen law that, no matter what size freezer you have, it fills up to capacity within a couple of months, and stays that way forever.

To get around the problem, it is useful to develop a few small tricks. And the one relevant to your case: you can make temporary space by moving stuff to the fridge.

You should pick a few items with sufficient volume and density (a big tub of frozen stew would work great, or whole birds) and place them in the coldest area of the fridge, which is usually against the back wall. Pack them close to each other. Choose items in tightly fitting packaging, to avoid condensation problems on the food surface. For extra security, you can put them in a plastic bag (to reduce warm airflow if you open the fridge) and stick in any trays of ice cubes you have, as well as gel icepacks. As long as you don't let your food thaw (watch out for partial thawing), you can move it back into the freezer without safety or quality issues.

I cannot give you an exact time period for how long you have, but usually an hour or two are easily doable. So, with a sensible choice of food to swap, the 15-20 minutes of chilling you need are well within tolerance.

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While I'm choosing the other answer since it's actually a submitted answer, for posterity I wanted to include an answer I received from a pastry chef on another forum:

Use a "collar" made from foil or paper to hold up the pastry dough. That is, fold a semi-rigid loop that fits inside the springform pan, and then add the pastry walls around that, so that the dough is supported in the space between the collar and the pan.

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