We can all agree that it’s so much easier to prepare for an eventful meal when we can make the dishes ahead of time and pull them out of the freezer when the time comes. However, when it comes to pre-prepping pies—such as pecan pie—freezing the delicate pastries ahead of time can be risky business. As a result, many people find themselves wondering whether or not they can safely freeze pecan pie?
You can safely freeze pecan pie. Pecan pie’s unique composition and water content make it a safe choice for preparing ahead of time and freezing baked or unbaked.
This article will discuss strategies for effectively freezing pecan pie. Read on to learn how to prepare pecan pie ahead of time to have it ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You Can Freeze Pecan Pie Safely
Pecan pie filling has a significant ration of sugar within the filling. Because this sugar is fully dissolved, the liquid components of the filling can be frozen without the risk of ice crystals damaging the texture.
Additionally, pecan pie recipes often call for very little added water. This low water content also facilitates the freezing process and reduces the chance of separation in the filling.
Can You Freeze a Baked Pecan Pie?
You can freeze a baked pecan pie with very few adverse side effects. Unlike many fruit pies, the water content of pecan pie filling isn’t prone to separation upon freezing.
Pecan pies are unlike fruit pies in that they can be frozen wholly assembled. Fruit pies have a high water content, making it extremely difficult to freeze the pastry and filling effectively. Instead, many experts would agree that for fruit pies it is easier to freeze the filling and the crust separately. Then, you can assemble and bake both components after thawing.
On the other hand, pecan pies can be frozen—crust and all—with very few adverse side effects.
Can You Freeze an Unbaked Pecan Pie?
You can freeze an unbaked pecan pie with very few adverse side effects. The pecan pie’s filling preparation process and low added water content make it great for freezing before baking.
Pecan pie is traditionally made with very little added water. The low water content of pecan pie means that you don’t need to worry about ice crystals damaging the other essential components of the pie during the freezing process.
In this way, pecan pie is different from a typical fruit pie with high water content. In addition, evenly dissolved sugar throughout the pecan filling keeps the pie’s moist components in place during both the freezing and thawing process.
Tips for Freezing Pecan Pie
If you’re planning on making pecan pie in advance to prepare for the holiday season or other get-togethers, there are a few things you can do to simplify the process. Read on for some tips that’ll help make your pecan pie prep as successful as it can be.
Let the Pecan Pie Cool Completely Before Freezing
One crucial step in effectively freezing a pecan pie is making sure it’s completely cooled before it’s frozen. It may seem like a hassle, but if you want the structure and texture of your pie to hold up after a few months of freezing, you shouldn’t skip this step. Exercising a little bit of patience and letting the pie cool will improve the outcome of both baked and unbaked pecan pies when they’re eventually thawed.
Covering a pecan pie before it’s completely cooled can lead to steam accumulation as condensation. This condensation will settle on top of the pie and freeze solid as the pie freezes. When the time comes to thaw and eat your pie, the ratio of water in the pie filling will likely be thrown off, leading to an unpleasantly soggy or separated consistency.
Wrap the Pecan Pie Thoroughly Before Freezing
Once your pie is complete, whether it’s baked or unbaked, you can place it in the freezer uncovered for at least two hours to ensure it’s thoroughly cooled and done releasing steam. After the pie has undergone this “pre-freeze,” you can remove it from the freezer and wrap it for long-term storage.
When wrapping a pie for freezer storage, it’s a good idea to use both plastic wrap and a resealable freezer bag. Tightly wrap at least two layers of plastic wrap around the pie to cover all sides.
Once you’ve sufficiently wrapped the pie, you can place it in a large resealable freezer bag for an added layer of protection. Depending on the size of your pie, a gallon-sized (4.5-liter) freezer bag should be sufficient.
Prepare the Pecan Pie in a Metal Pan
One key factor in pie preparation that can be easily overlooked is the pan you choose for your pie. It’s a good idea to prepare your pecan pie in a metal pan, especially if you’ll be freezing the pie unbaked.
Using a glass pan to store your pie can be extremely dangerous. If you take a glass pan directly out of the freezer and place it in a hot oven, it can shatter. You can easily avoid this hazard by making the pie in a metal pan initially.
Label Your Pie To Avoid Confusion in the Future
Date and label your pie after wrapping it. No one likes pulling a pie out of the freezer with no idea as to how long it’s been in there. Use a permanent marker to write the date of preparation and the type of pie on the freezer bag, so there’s no confusion when you need to remove it from the freezer.
How Long Does Pecan Pie Last in the Freezer?
A pecan pie can last for 2–4 months, depending on whether or not it has been baked. A fully baked pecan pie can last up to four months, but you should bake an unbaked pie within two months of freezing.
You can safely store a fully baked pie in the freezer for longer than an unbaked pie. Suppose you know you’ll be storing the pie for longer than two months. Then it’s a good idea to bake it before freezing.
However, suppose you’re preparing for the coming holiday season and know you’ll be ready to eat the pie within a month or two. In that case, there’s no danger in freezing the pie unbaked.
Allow the Frozen Pecan Pie To Thaw for at Least 3 Hours
Now, if you baked your pecan pie before freezing it, you may be tempted to remove it from the freezer and throw it straight into the oven.
However, you should allow the frozen pie to thaw for at least three hours in a safe area for the best results. It’s a good idea to take the pie out of the freezer the night before you plan to eat it. This preemptive step will ensure the pie is entirely thawed when it comes time to dish it up.
On the other hand, unbaked pecan pie can be put directly into the oven from the freezer. Keep in mind that a frozen pie will take longer to bake than a freshly prepared one. The baking process will likely take an additional 30–40 minutes if frozen ahead of time.
The holidays can be stressful, especially when it comes down to preparing meals. Luckily, you can easily make a pecan pie ahead of time and freeze it to simplify the meal prep process for your future self. Using a few simple tips, you can set yourself up for success next time you need to have a pecan pie ready at a moment’s notice.