Freeze Ahead Pies

Or how I made 38 fruit pies for my wedding.

Throughout the summer of 2012, I baked, sewed, planned, and crafted for my September wedding. That is what you do when you have a DIY wedding for 250 people. And when I say DIY...I mean it. With the help of friends and family, I made everything- from the flowers to appetizers, invites to flower girl dresses, bunting to beverages. Sometime, I will have to write up a post on the dos and don'ts of a budget wedding (for instance, make your own decor, but don't stay up till 3am days before the wedding sewing bridesmaid clutches... seriously just buy them.) But for now, we can focus on the pies.  

I love a good cake. But I believe pie is better than cake 96% of the time. So when summer and fall produce was best, I did a lot of research on how to make and freeze unbaked pies that don't turn soupy. Flour and cornstarch thickeners do not stand up well to freezing (freezing ruptures the cell walls of many starches), so I used my now favorite thickener, Tapioca flour. It's freezer stable, doesn't mute fruit flavors, and gives pie filling a perfect sheen. 42 (counting the test pies) later and the help of friends' and neighbors' ovens, We had the perfect desert for our homestead wedding.

Photo by Mor Weizman

Photo by Mor Weizman

You'd think I'd be sick of making them by now, but when I get a basket full of fresh fruit, like fresh apples from a friend's back yard (Thank you Brianna and Guy Samuelson!), I get the urge to roll crust, mix up filling and bake until the whole house smells like Autumn. 

This time, I made a couple extras to store in the freezer for the winter months when I can continue on in lazy, hibernation mode and still have hot pie for breakfast.

Freezer Apple Pie

Be sure to use in a metal tin!

Favorite Crust Ingredients:
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold butter
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Filling Ingredients:
2 ½ lb apples- peeled, cored, and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon    
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
2 ½ Tablespoons tapioca powder
1 beaten egg (optional- to help prevent sogginess)

To make crust, whisk flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or in a food processor until it resembles coarse cornmeal with only a few pea-sized pieces of butter. Mix in the ice water one tablespoon at a time until the crust just comes together. Form into two balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Toss all filling ingredients together except beaten egg in a large bowl. Assemble pies and, if using egg, be sure to brush the bottom crust with a light coat before adding apples.

Freeze pies overnight and then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap the next day.

To bake:
Do not defrost. Bake the pie(s) on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 425 and then at 375 for another 45 minutes or until the juices begin to bubble.