Sunday, December 24, 2006

Baking central

My parents arrived early last week, and since then we've been sewing, baking, slapping wood filler on a cabinet I'm rehabbing, baking, and more sewing. Check out my other blog for details on the sewing ( ).
I thought I'd a scene from my kitchen this morning, where my mother was making caramel rolls for tomorrow morning and I was working on the red velvet cake for our big dinner tonight. My mother knows that I absolutely despise making pie crusts, even thought I much prefer pie to cake, so every time she comes to visit, she fills all my pie pans with crusts I can freeze and use later. It's a better present than anything I'm likely to get under the tree tomorrow.
Here's my mother in action:

I hope everyone out there has a great Winter Holiday Of Your Choice, and I hope everyone has someone out there to make pie crusts for them. Take care, and I'll see you in a few days!


Anonymous said...

Hope you all had a wonderful celebration - I can imagine how excited Liza must have been. Incidentally, I used to make pie crusts for my mother on my yearly visits to her and she used them over the year. We had a great time with K & U. I am sure she'll tell you later. Love to all! K's mom

Anonymous said...

How do you freeze pie crust?

I don't mean to sound too much like a neanderthal who is excited by the concept of "freezer", but what are the secrets so that the crust is useful later?

For example:
1) Do you prebake the crust (or may I prebake the crust) prior to freezing?
2) Will a 9" pie plate fit into a ziplock bag? Or do you wrap it in plastic or in foil?
3) Do you have problems with ice crystals forming on the crust while its in the freezer? Or with it drying out?


Anonymous said...

Is there no one who can help on the techniques for freezing pie crust?

Gretchen said...

Jeez louise, keep your pants on.

We put the pie dough in the pan and flute the edge (for a one-crust pie - if you're going to use a top crust, leave the edge plain). Put a little extra flour in the bottom of the crust and spread it around - this will help keep it from getting soggy. Wrap the pie plate in several layers of plastic wrap, keeping the first layer as close to the actual surface of the dough as you can. Subsequent layers can go straight across the top of the pan, if you want, or you can dip them down into the pan so that you can stack several pie plates on top of each other in the freezer.

If you're using a smaller pan (maybe 8" or an oval casserole dish) it may fit in a ziploc bag, but you still need to put a layer of plastic on the surface of the dough.

When you're ready to make a pie, you can either defrost the pie shell overnight in the refrigerator, or use it straight out of the freezer. It doesn't seem to make much difference, although you'd need to defrost the shell for a two-crust pie just so you could add the top layer and flute the edge.

Extra tip - Rose Levy Berenbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible recommends cooking most pies on a pizza stone in order to help the bottom of the crust brown. This is especially useful if you're baking a frozen pie shell. Just throw the pizza stone in the oven while you're preheating, and put the pie in the middle for the entire regular baking time. I've never had it burn that way, it just seems to help with the browning and crisping.

As far as prebaking goes, I don't see why you couldn't do that, especially for something like quiche where it needs to be partially baked before it's filled. You could probably completely bake a shell (like for a cream pie) and freeze that, but I've never had call to do so. If it's in the oven, it's on the table later that day :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you. That sounds easy!

What is the importance of ensuring that the plastic wrap follows the contour of the pie crust?

(The readers of this most excellent blog have expectations of punctuality.)

Your friend,