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This past weekend we visited Rodale farm's organic apple festival, and we spent all of yesterday canning. We also have several peaches from making a batch of fruit ketchup. We still have about 1/4 a bushel of apples left, so I was considering making several fruit pies to freeze for the upcoming thanksgiving season.

Thus far, I have seen several recipes that caution AGAINST freezing, some that have tips about freezing (namely, blind bake the crust before freezing, do NOT bake the fruit, bake the pie frozen, just add an extra 20-25 minutes to the normal baking time).

Are there any other major concerns when making a pie specifically with the intention of freezing it? Should I add starch to prevent a liquidy mess? Should I try to drain the fruit first with a little salt to remove excess water?

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We get a bushel of apples every year and make and freeze pies. We do a double crust without problem. We put a couple of tablespoons of flour on the bottom for the juices, but we do that for fresh pie as well.

We use tin and pyrex, whatever we can get our hands on.

The main concerns we have is the apples juicing too much in the pie, so we assemble and freeze them as fast as possible. (And we made 18 two weeks ago Saturday) so every time one is done we run it down to the freeze to freeze it immediately, we freeze them uncooked. Don't thaw the pie as again the fruit will have time to juice. We unwrap it (we wrap ours in plastic wrap and then foil to protect the foil from some of the acidic fruits) and put it in the cold oven and start cooking it as normal.

My family has frozen, apricot, apple, and blackberry.

Also when doing the pies en mass like this, we roll our open crusts for the holidays as well, since the mess is already made. These are for the pumpkin, banana, and chocolate pies. The crusts alone we do let thaw before cooking, as they cook so fast.

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For apple, specifically, I tend to add a very thin layer of quick oats to the bottom of the pie filler to soak up any excess moisture. But nothing else really stands out in my recipe if I were to freeze it.

My big thing is to use something that can handle the temperature change from freezer to oven (such as pyrex), and help it by giving it a smooth temperature transition: I take it out and let it sit on the counter on a rack (for airflow) for an hour, then I place it in a non-preheated oven so it gently comes up to temp. Then I time it onward from the preheat successful beep to the normal baking time. I may add five minutes if it doesn't look done enough, but I generally eyeball it at the end and I cannot offer any hard advice at that point.

I may have to try your blind baking of the crust one of these days. That may be viable. I would definitely not salt the fruit.

  • Metal pans are often better. What's currently sold as pyrex can't handle temperature changes as well as the older stuff. It's likely okay starting in a cold oven, like you mention ... but don't put the new stuff cold into a hot oven. – Joe Sep 22 '14 at 14:25
  • First, thanks for the heads up about new/old pyrex. Both of our pie dishes are old pyrex so I shoud be safe. Any thoughts on using a double crust (bottom and top crust) vs using a single crust? – Matthew Sep 22 '14 at 16:24
  • Can't comment on the crust: I always do a butter crumb top which I gently pat down to freeze (acts as a fatty moisture barrier). It browns nicely later. – Grey Dog Sep 22 '14 at 18:22
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For freezing I bake until the top looks just cooked (not quite turning golden so maybe 5 minutes less then normal), blind baking or not depending on the filling and whether I can be bothered. Then I cool the pie in the dish on a cooling rack before wrapping it in greaseproof paper then clingfilm and freezing. When frozen it can be removed from the dish and rewrapped - but it's only worth doing this if you need the dish.

I usually defrost in the fridge (still wrapped) then unwrap just before baking again - probably for about 2/3 of the normal cooking time, but going by the colour of the pastry.

The best dish we've got for this is thin enamelled metal but a pottery pie dish works well too.

The idea of salting fruit seems very odd to me. To stop it being too wet I'd just lightly precook the apples with barely any water and a lid on. I often add blackberries/blackcurrants/raspberries or even blueberries, all of which give some juice especially if they've been frozen until the apples are ready - they still don't make the filling too wet, but blind baking is a good idea then.

  • Thank you! Any advice on a double crust vs a single crust? Does one freeze better than the other? – Matthew Sep 22 '14 at 16:24
  • I normally make a double crust (is that a US term, I'd never come across it before?) for a fruit pie, freezing or not. I would expect it to be easier to wrap/defrost/unwrap than with the fruit exposed. – Chris H Sep 23 '14 at 19:18

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