Can I Put Any Pie Filling in a Store-Bought Crust?
The short answer is "yes," if you follow a few tips.
By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
Amanda is a recipe developer at Food Network.
If you have a prepared pie crust hanging around and you’re wondering whether you can add your favorite homemade pie filling to it, the answer is yes — with some caveats. It all depends on the type of pie crust. Below, we’ve laid out fillings that work in each type of pie crust, plus how to bake them. Ultimately, you’ll end up with a pie that tastes practically homemade.
Pie Fillings that Work with Refrigerated Pie Dough
Refrigerated pie dough is exactly what it sounds like: pre-made, raw pie dough sold in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. It is made with all-purpose flour, sugar and lard/vegetable shortening, making it easy to unroll and shape no matter your degree of baking expertise. It’s typically sold in rolled-out round sheets (two sheets per box), allowing the baker to make two standard open-face pies, one more intricate lattice or a double crust pie. If you’re making a deep-dish pie, you’ll need to roll the dough sheets with a rolling pin to a slightly larger round because this pie dough is prepared for a 9-inch pie plate.
Refrigerated pie dough is one of the most versatile supermarket-products available: most homemade pie fillings can go into it successfully, including custard pies (like pumpkin pie), fruit pies and nut pies (pecan pie, we’re looking at you). Simply press the raw dough into a glass, metal or ceramic pie plate — like you would a homemade crust — then proceed with your recipe.
Pie Fillings that Work with Frozen Pie Dough and Prepared Crusts
This product can be found in frozen sheets, but it’s often sold as prepared, ready-made crusts pressed into 9-inch disposable aluminum pie dishes. Frozen pie dough is a great option for someone looking to grocery shop early around the holidays, as it keeps in the freezer for an extended period. In addition to classic all-butter versions, frozen pie dough comes in various flavors with dietary restrictions in mind, including gluten-free options.
Like refrigerated pie dough, you can use frozen pie dough with most pie fillings, including custard, fruit or nut fillings. However, you’ll need to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator completely (preferably overnight) — this product should not be baked directly from the freezer. Next, all you need to do is add your homemade filling and bake the pie (or, in the case of custard pies, blind bake the crust first) — no rolling or shaping required. Keep in mind that the pie crusts that come pressed into the pan will not accommodate the volume of filling called for in a deep-dish recipe, so you might have some leftover filling — feel free to bake it in greased ramekins or muffin cups.
Pie Fillings that Work with Shelf-Stable Cookie Crusts
If you want to avoid pie dough all together or opt for a no-bake crust, purchase a prepared cookie crust in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. They are shelf-stable and come in various sizes, including mini, 9-inch and deep-dish. They are typically made of cookie crumbs, such as graham crackers or Oreo cookies, but sometimes are even made entirely with pulverized nuts.
Shelf-stable cookie crusts are great for cream fillings and homemade curds, such as lemon meringue pie, because you can enjoy the crusts as-is or blind bake them in the oven, then fill with your desired filling. We also love a cookie crust because it can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, making it easy to prepare the pie ahead of time and stash it in the fridge.
More Tips for Using Premade Pie Crust
Keep Volume Top of Mind
If your pie filling recipe specifies the size of the crust and pie plate, make sure to use the vessel described to ensure the filling bakes properly. This is especially important for a deep-dish pie; if you try to use a smaller pie plate and crust, you’ll be left with excess filling, or you run the chance of it overflowing. Check out Food Network’s Best Rated Pie Dishes (including a deep-dish option, as well glass versus metal) for best results.
Handle Pie Dough Minimally
This rule of thumb holds true for both homemade and store-bought crusts. The more you work with it, the tougher it will become once baked. Your hands will also warm up the dough significantly, making it more challenging to work with. If you come across a crack in your dough, do your best to patch it instead of rerolling.
Store It Correctly
Follow sell-by and expiration dates on the individual packaging if it’s been unopened. Once refrigerated pie dough is opened, it will keep for a maximum of 5 days (after that, it will oxidize and lose its good taste). Similarly, frozen pie dough, once thawed, will only last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you would like to par-bake your crust ahead of time, baked, tightly wrapped pie dough will keep for 7 on the counter – any longer, and you run the chance of it becoming stale.