Yes, You Can Freeze Pecan Pie
No nuts about it.
When it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, homemade pie is tops — and pecan pie is a favorite. But in order to pull off a homemade feast and make it to dessert without feeling as burnt-out as your oven, might we suggest this stress-saving, game-changing tip? You can bake and freeze your pecan pies. Bake your pies a couple weeks in advance, then freeze them until the night before the big day. Yep, turns out that you can freeze pecan pie — and learning how to do it is not a hard nut to crack.
Why freezing pecan pie works
"Pecan pie freezes better than most [pies] because it has much lower water content than that of a fruit pie, and it is much higher in sugar and fat," says Kaley Laird, executive pastry chef for Asheville restaurants Rhubarb, The Rhu and Benne on Eagle. "Dark corn syrup, which is a pretty typical ingredient found in pecan pies, is in the invert sugar category. This, mixed with butter and hopefully a shot or two of bourbon, will keep the pie moist and from freezing solid."
Consider the crust
At the very least, plan to freeze your pie shells. "We make our own pie shells every week and often need to shape and freeze them raw. We par-bake and bake as needed," Laird says. "Commercial pie shells are no different and may even yield a better result to bake and refreeze as they often have shortenings in them."
Remember that layers are key
Laird’s top tips for storing your pie in the freezer (for up to two weeks):
- Use way more plastic wrap than you think you would need. Fully enclose the pie to protect it from scents, spills and liquids.
- Try to store it as flat as possible and don’t stack anything on top of it.
- Do one better and store the wrapped pie inside a pastry box to keep it from being jostled.
Thaw slowly and reheat quickly
Laird recommends slowly defrosting the pie in the refrigerator overnight. But be sure to inspect the pie first. "If the layers of plastic seem wet or have anything frozen to it, remove a layer or two (or completely) and re-wrap in a single layer. That way you don't have extra moisture to ruin your pie," she advises.
To reheat, Laird suggests allowing the pie to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes to take the chill out, then heating it for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven. This will help crisp up the crust without baking it further.
Our recipe for The Best Pecan Pie (pictured above) leans incorporates several tricks, including toasted pecans, two tablespoons of bourbon, plenty of vanilla and a good bit of light brown sugar to create deeper flavor than the usual sweetness of pecan pie.
Ree’s Pecan Pie (pictured up top) has both the fat and sugar content that helps pecan pies keep in the freezer: the crust calls for a mix of butter and shortening while the filling calls for dark or light corn syrup.
You might try maple with your pecans. This recipe for pecan pie without any corn syrup recreates that classic texture using equal parts brown sugar and maple syrup, or Ina’s Maple Pecan Pie, which melds light corn syrup, honey and maple syrup, plus a tablespoon of bourbon.
Tyler’s Bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe is another winner. The filling calls for dark corn syrup or sugar cane syrup plus a few tablespoons of bourbon, both of which help keep the filling moist.
These classic Food Network Kitchen recipes have a little added flair, like this vanilla-brown butter Pecan Pie, which has a bit of apple cider vinegar to cut the richness, or this bourbon-spiked Pecan Pie, which adds an extra toasty caramel note to the toasted-pecan-filling.