Freezing Mini Pies is easy? Pumpkin or Custard
Posted by The Pie Guy
The best frozen mini pumpkin pie is the one you bake.
Why bother with store bought mini frozen pies when you can do it yourself the natural way.
Yes, it is perfectly fine freezing your mini pies. In fact mini pies freeze better than standard full size pies and are easier to store in your freezer.
More flavor is locked
The flavors of your mini pie will be locked in because it took a short period of time for the coldness to penetrate the small pie. Mini pies freeze before the fresh bake flavors have a chance to escape into your freezer.
Store mini pie in freezer, anywhere!
Is your freezer crowed? And now your are trying to fit a full size frozen pie in it. It is a challenge sometimes to make room for something so big.
Mini pies can be shoved into the smallest spaces. Just make sure you can find them later. Try putting all your frozen mini pies into a zip-lock bag.
I ran a test and froze a mini pumpkin pie made from scratch. It sat for three days in the freezer. There was no detectable difference in taste or appearance to when I first baked it fresh.
Now I kept the mini pie in the freezer for a total of two weeks. The pie is still very good but the crust lost some of its buttery flavor and flakiness. Only you the baker will be the wiser.
A mini pumpkin pie can be stored up to a month in the freezer but anything after three weeks the pie exponentially starts to degrade in taste and texture.
If you plan to freeze many pies, I recommend you buy a compact freezer that you only put pies in. Put a fresh box of baking soda to help remove any funny smells or flavors that might build up in the freezer.
Freezing mini pumpkin or custard pies, Is it Okay?
Some say NO because freezing the pie will ruin it and make it taste funny. The results of the pumpkin pie will be a watery filling after thawing and a soggy crust.
The real problem is... Overcooked filling is bad
Actually, the problem happened before the pie hit the freeze. When custard is overcooked the eggs and milk start to curdle, which breaks down the custard. This creates pockets of water in your custard.
When the pie hits the freezer, these pockets of water freeze and expand causing the custard to separate more. During the time the water turns cold and freezes, some of the extra moisture moves into the pie crust.
So when the pie thaws the water stays in the crust making it soggy. Since your custard now has less water in it, it starts to sag and dip in the middle and break up the filling. Now you have a mini pie that is just a soggy bowl of eggs and milk. Yuck!
Rubbery pie crust
My baking friend followed my instructions on freezing her pies but her crust was not as flaky as mine. It was a little chewy.
We discovered we used different pie crust recipes. Her pie dough recipe required more liquids (heavy cream) and some shortening.
Here is what went wrong with some pie crust dough
Here is what went wrong with the pie crust. Since her dough contained more liquids, it added more moisture to the crust; she does this to make the dough easier to work with.
The moisture that was left after baking froze in the crust. As the water expand and contract, the crust started to degrade. This action not only toughens the crust but changes the flavor.
This process ruined the flakiness and made the crust somewhat rubbery and chalky.
So if you are planning to freeze your mini pie, increase the fat content and reduce the amount of liquid in the pie crust recipe.
Best pie dough for freezing is high in fat
Freezing expands and contracts the water/moisture in a pie crust. The structure to the pie crust breaks down.
Pie crusts which freeze well are made with a larger amount of fat than liquids. They remain more stable when frozen.
My pie crust dough that freezes will is dry and crumbly before it has a chance to rest in the refrigerator tightly wrap in plastic.
The time in the refrigerator is very important. It gives time for all of the dry ingredients to soak up the moisture that is in the dough, it becomes evenly hydrated.
Keeping mini pie more than three days, then freeze it
If you must save a custard pie for more than three days then it is got to go in the freezer, no ands or buts about it. This is the best way I know to preserve any custard based pies in the freezer.
Step 1 - Cool down the pumpkin pie after it is fully baked
The pie must be completely cool before wrapping, better if it is slightly chilled. If this is not done the steam will get trapped below your wrapper.
This extra moisture will move into your crust and destroy its texture and taste.
Step 2 - Cover the pumpkin pie with plastic wrap
Tightly wrap the pie completely with plastic wrap (saran wrap). If gaps appear, put another layer over to cover it.
Step 3 - Cover it again with foil
Now wrap the whole package with aluminium foil. The purpose of the foil is to prevent funky smells and odors in the freezer entering your pie.
Never put a pie in a freezer
where fish has been,
unless you want fishy pumpkin pie.
Be sure to label your pies with a permanent ink pen so they can be identify later, like pumpkin, sweet p. (sweet potato), and so forth.
Step 4 - Place pie in freezer
Now you pie can be placed in the freezer. Put it on a flat surface in the freezer until it is frozen solid at which point you can put it any which way it will fit in the freezer.
I recommend placing all your frozen mini pies in a zip lock bag. This way you will be able to locate them later in the freezer.
Now, how do you thaw out your frozen pumpkin pie?
There is a right way and a wrong way to thaw out your pie. The process is almost the exact opposite of what you did to freeze.
Step A - Remove all wrappers
Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the pie. Throw away the foil and plastic wrap.
Never reuse them. Try not to contaminate the pie with the foil that might have touched raw meat while your pie was in the freezer.
Step B - Put the pie in the refrigerator
The slow and best way to thaw mini pies
Place the pie in the refrigerator on a flat surface. The pie must set in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 4 hours. Why thaw in the refrigerator first?
If you take the pie directly out of the freezer and place it at room temperature the pie will turn out bad.
It is like this. A glass of ice water will start to sweat when the surrounding air is much warmer than the glass. Water is condensing on the surface of the cold glass. Place the same glass of ice water in the refrigerator and it no longer sweats.
A frozen pie is no different than a glass of ice water. Water will condensed on your frozen pie when sitting at room temperature. You do not see the water because the pie crust is absorbing it. This is not good. You do not want a wet and soggy crust.
So thaw your pumpkin pie in the refrigerator first.
Thaw pie fast - I want my pie now!
Here is a faster way to thaw your mini pie if you can not wait for that first bite.
This method uses the microwave oven. You can just thaw the mini pie or take it one step further to warming the pie up.
Put the mini pie unwrapped on a glass dish and follow step C instructions below.
Step C - Heating or warm up your pie
If you want to heat your pie up or if it still is a little too cold to eat after thawing in the refrigerator, you can use the microwave oven.
Remember microwave ovens do not heat things evenly. A spot on the pie filling could be steaming while the pie crust is still chilled.
Do not heat it in the oven all in one shot. Put the pie in the oven for 15 seconds then let it rest for 2 minutes. Repeat the process until you reached your desired temperature for the pie.
refreeze a pie
that was once frozen.
This process will limit the damage the oven could do to your homemade pumpkin or custard mini pie.
That is all folks! Now enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Store the remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to two days and do not refreeze any of it.
Interested in Pumpkin Pies?
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