04 October 2009
Unbaked and baked pastry may be frozen in slab form, or prepared as pies, pasties, turnovers, flans and unfilled cases. Baked pies store for a longer period, depending on the filling, but a frozen unbaked pie has a better flavour and scent, and the pastry is crisper and flakier. Read about such types of pastry and pies: slab pastry, pastry cases, unbaked pies, baked pies, meat pies, fruit pies, fruit pie fillings, sausage rolls, savoury and sweet flans.
Types of pastry and fillings
All types of pastry freeze equally well, but it is important to use a standard balanced recipe, and ingredients must be fresh as stale flour develops an unpleasant flavour after freezing and thawing. Almost all fillings can be used, except those using custard which separates. Meringue toppings toughen and dry during storage.
Hot water crust pies These may be frozen baked or unbaked to eat cold, but there are risks attached. The pie can be frozen unbaked, partially thawed and then baked, but this means that the uncooked meat will have been in contact with the warm uncooked pastry in which hot water is used during the making process, and unless the pie is carefully handled while cooling, there is a danger of organisms entering the meat. A baked pie can be frozen without the usual jelly, and the stock can be heated and poured into the pie during thawing but this may also encourage organisms. On balance, pork and game pies with hot water crust should therefore be avoided as freezer products.
Preparation and packing Roll pastry, form into a square and wrap in greaseproof paper, then in foil or polythene. Only pack in small quantities, to facilitate thawing.
Thawing and serving Thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, and do not hasten thawing. Pastry may crumble when rolled if you do. Cook like fresh pastry, and eat when freshly baked.
Storage time 4 months.
Special notes Do not return to freezer in baked form.
Preparation and packing Prepare flan cases, patty cases or vols-au-vent, using foil containers if possible. Freeze unbaked or baked. Freeze choux after baking. Small cases may be packed in boxes with paper between the layers.
Thawing and serving Thaw unbaked cases for 1 hour at room temperature, then bake like fresh pastry. Thaw baked cases at room temperature before filling. A hot filling can be used and the cases heated in a low oven.
Storage time 6 months.
Preparation and packing Prepare with or without a bottom crust, preferably in a foil case. Put in the cold filling. Do not cut air vents in top crust. Freeze unwrapped and then wrap in foil or polythene, or put in a polythene bag before freezing.
Thawing and serving Cut slits in top crust and bake unthawed like fresh pies, allowing 10 minutes longer than normal cooking time.
Storage time 4 months according to filling.
Special notes Freezing unwrapped will prevent sogginess.
Preparation and packing Prepare and bake pies according to recipe, and cool quickly. If possible prepare in foil, otherwise in rustproof and crack-proof container. Wrap in foil or polythene.
Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings at room temperature for 3 hours to serve cold. Heat double-crust pie at 375°F (Gas Mark 5) for 40-50 minutes according to size, and single-crust pies for 30-50 minutes, having put them in the oven while still frozen.
Storage time 6 months according to filling.
Preparation and packing Meat pies may be completely cooked before freezing. The filling may also be cooked and cooled, then topped with pastry and frozen unbaked. Prepare in foil containers if possible. Brush the bottom crust with melted butter or lard just before filling to prevent sogginess.
Thawing and serving Reheat cooked pies, or bake those with uncooked pastry at 400°F (Gas Mark 6) for required time according to size.
Storage time 2 months.
Preparation and packing Fruit pies can be made with cooked or uncooked fillings. If the surface of the bottom crust is brushed with egg white, sogginess will be avoided. Pies may be baked or unbaked.
Thawing and serving Reheat cooked pies, or bake those which have been frozen without cooking at 400°F (Gas Mark 6) for required time according to size.
Storage time 4 months.
Special notes Apples tend to brown if stored in a pie for more than 4 weeks, even when treated with lemon juice, so it is better to combine frozen pastry and frozen apples to make a pie. Small fruit pies and turnovers, which have been baked and frozen can be thawed in an ordinary lunch box.
Fruit pie fillings
Preparation and packing Use the basic recipe for Fruit Pie Filling and put into a sponge-cake tin or pie plate lined with foil. Freeze and wrap in foil for storage.
Thawing and serving Line a baking dish with pastry, put in the frozen fillings, cover with pastry and bake as usual, at 425°F (Gas Mark 7) for 45 minutes.
Storage time 6 months.
Special notes This is an economical way of storing fruit in quickly useable form. The addition of corn-flour or flaked tapioca gives a firm filling which cuts well and does not leak.
Preparation and packing Make sausage rolls with short, flaky or puff pastry. Freeze unbaked rolls on trays, and pack in polythene bags or foil cases for storage. Pack baked rolls in foil cases or in boxes to avoid damage.
Thawing and serving Brush unbaked sausage rolls with egg and bake at 475°F (Gas Mark 9) for 20 minutes, then at 375°F (Gas Mark 5) for 10 minutes. Thaw baked sausage rolls in wrappings in refrigerator for 6 hours, to eat cold, or heat at 400°F (Gas Mark 6) for 25 minutes.
Storage time 1 month.
Savoury and sweet flans
Preparation and packing Open flans with savoury or sweet fillings are best completed and baked before freezing. They should be frozen without wrapping to avoid spoiling the surface, then wrapped in foil or polythene for storage, or packed in boxes to avoid damage.
Thawing and serving Thaw in loose wrappings at room temperature for 2 hours to serve cold, or reheat if required.
Storage time 2 months with fresh fillings; 1 month if made with leftover meat or vegetables.