What are pies?
In culinary terms, pie consists of filling – sweet or savory, that is encased in a pastry crust and cooked.
Pies are some of the oldest food preparations, with the initial ones dating back to the 14th century.
The key ingredient is the crust, which can be prepared in countless ways as described below:
Different types of pie crust dough
This is the building block of numerous types of pies and tarts. The term short is used to depict the texture of crust, which is usually dense, crumbly but tender.
A basic short crust dough is made from regular pantry items: All-purpose flour, salt, shortening/fat and ice cold water. The ratio of flour to fat is normally 2:1. Other richer variations include egg yolk and sugar.
The fat is rubbed in until the mixture resembles grainy breadcrumbs. In order to ensure a crumbly, tender crust, 3 conditions have to be met:
- The use of ice cold water which ensures the fat doesn’t melt
- Minimal kneading by hand. If possible the use of fork is ideal.
- Refrigerating the dough for a few minutes prior to baking
Unlike its counterpart, puff pastry is light and flaky. The ‘puffy’ dough is achieved by creating layers of dough.
As a matter of fact, this is achieved by laminating or folding fat between dough, rolling out and repeating the same process, depending on the number of layers desired. Consequently, this process traps in air, which expands during baking, creating the ‘puff’ effect.
Puff pastry can have as little as 9 layers to as many as 100. As such, making it from scratch is not for the faint-hearted (who wants some biceps?).
Like short-crust dough, ingredients used include all-purpose flour, fat (butter, lard, shortening), water and salt.
Here are common types of pies:
As the name suggests, these pies are filled with fruits, whether sweet or tart-tasting. Moreover, they can be served as desserts or included in main dishes. Common examples include, but not limited to:
- Apple pie
- Strawberry-rhubarb pie
- Cherry pie
- Berry pies – blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries
How long do freshly baked fruit-filled pies last? (At room temperature)
A general rule of thumb is – fruit pies containing sugar can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days. On the contrary, those without are best consumed the same day or refrigerated.
Shelf life of baked fruit-filled pies (in the fridge)
In case of leftovers, wrap the pies loosely in foil and refrigerate up to 5 days. For better storage, divide into individual portions.
Can you freeze fruit-filled pies?
Sure, baked fruit pies freeze well. Nonetheless, freeze in single portions to avoid re-freezing. Well frozen fruit pie lasts up to 8 months.
Cream/ Custard pies
Cream pies are decadent dessert treats made from simple crusts, not necessarily short or puff pastry. For instance, graham crackers and cookies are popularly crashed and used as crust.
A point worth noting is that cream pies are open, they are not fully encased with pastry. The filling used in cream pies include cream cheese, whipped heavy cream and custard. Similarly, these are combined with flavors and other fillings like fruits, depending on the type. Common examples include:
- Key lime pie
- Peanut butter
- Strawberry cream pie.
How long does raw cream pie last? (In the fridge)
Cream pie is highly perishable. As such, refrigerate as soon as it has cooled. Consume within 3 days at most.
Shelf life of frozen cream pie
Freezing cream can be tricky. This is because prolonged storage causes a change in texture and color. Therefore, freeze in heavy-duty wraps. It keeps well for 3-6 months.
Pies are not only used in desserts, they are also used as hot, savory meals. Moreover, they work great as comfort foods, for those cold nights.
When it comes to savory pies, you can be lost for choices on the fillings to use. From minced meat to vegetables to sliced fish to cheese to seafood to chicken to pureed legumes – it all trickles down to your preferences. Regular savory pies include:
- Shepherd’s pie
- Chicken pot pie
- Meat pie – beef, pork, lamb
- Chicken and mushroom
How long does homemade quiche last? (In the fridge or freezer)
A basic quiche recipe contains eggs and cream. As such, avoid leaving it at room temperature. Refrigerate and consume within 4 days at most. Alternatively, freeze up to 6 months.
How long does chicken pot pie last? (In the fridge or freezer)
Enjoy this comforting pie by refrigerating up to 5 days. For longer shelf life, freeze and consume within 6 months.
These types of pies are synonymous for being open at the top. In addition, tarts can be both sweet, fruit-based and savory. The base is usually short-crust. Smaller tarts are known as tartlets, popularly served as appetizers or desserts.
Shelf life of fresh fruit tart
Utilize tarts filled with uncooked fruits the same day you prepare it. If not, refrigerate and consume within 2 days.
When it comes to pie dough itself, here is how long it lasts when raw, baked blind or frozen.
Shelf life of raw puff pastry
Refrigerate and utilize raw, homemade puff pastry within 3 days. As a matter of fact, wrap in cling film to prevent entry of moisture. It also freezes well, up to 3 months.
How long does baked puff pastry last? (In the fridge or freezer)
Refrigerate any baked puff pastry that you don’t intend to fill immediately. It keeps well for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Similarly, you can freeze for up to 8 months.
Shelf life of pie mix
Yes, commercially made pie mix is readily available in stores. It keeps well in the fridge up to 2 months. On that note, you can find others labelled ‘refrigerator’. This means that you have to store such dough either in the fridge or freezer. For long-term storage, freeze it up to 8 months.
How long does frozen pastry last?
This type of pie dough is customized for the freezer. In the stores, you will find it in cold storage. However, it has a use by date. As such, it keeps well frozen for up to 1 year.