Premade pie crusts help make baking much faster and easier. Frozen crusts can be stored in the freezer for up to two months, so baking a pie is a matter of defrosting, filling and cooking. Depending on what you're baking, you can fully or partially prebake the crust or simply fill and bake.
Partially Cooked Crusts
For pies and dishes that include wet ingredients, such as pumpkin pie or quiche, allow the frozen crust to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then prebake it. Also called blind baking, this step ensures that the bottom crust will be flaky rather than mushy.
Prick the dough with a fork to reduce bubbling, and line the inside of the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place pie weights or dry beans on top of the liner, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and liner, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Add the filling, and then bake the pie according to the recipe. Cover the crust edges with a foil ring to prevent burning during baking.
Fully Cooked Crusts
If your pie doesn't need to be baked, for example, chocolate pudding or fresh strawberry pie, defrost the frozen crust for about 15 minutes before pricking the bottom with a fork. Line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and add pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, and remove the weights and liner. Return the crust to the oven and cook it another 7 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the bottom begins to brown. Cool the crust completely and fill with your chosen filling.
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Baking a Frozen Crust With Filling
Some pies and dishes are not as wet, such as crumb-topped apple or pot pies. For these, allow the frozen crust to defrost for about 15 minutes and prick the bottom with a fork to prevent bubbling. Fill with your desired filling and bake according to your recipe.
For pies with both a top and a bottom crust, such as deep dish apple or cherry pie, allow the frozen crust to defrost for about 15 minutes. Prick the bottom crust with a fork, and moisten the edge with water. Add the filling and top the pie with the second crust, pinching the edges of the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers. Bake according to your recipe.
When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.