UNBAKED PIE DOUGH
Unbaked pie dough will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for about 4 days. Pat the dough into a ball and wrap it well with foil or plastic wrap. Let it soften a bit at room temperature before you roll it out.
Unbaked pie dough can also be frozen for at least 3 months. Save bits and scraps each time you make pastry and you will soon have enough for a complete pie. Or line small tart shells with unbaked pastry scraps and keep them in the freezer; filled with savories or sweets, they make delightful appetizers or desserts.
When you are preparing a pie ahead of time, roll the dough out, line the pan with it, wrap well with foil or plastic, and put it in the refrigerator. If you are making a two-crust pie, roll the top out, too, and place in on a piece of wax paper over the lined pan. Cover it all securely and keep refrigerated until you are ready to fill and bake the pie. Wrapped this way, unbaked pie crusts will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days or in the freezer for at least 3 months. You can make several pies at the same time, following this procedure; stack the rolled-out crusts carefully, one on top of the other, with wax paper separating the layers.
UNFILLED PIE SHELLS
Unfilled pie shells may be frozen either baked or unbaked, but unbaked is preferable by far. Wrap well in foil or freezer paper, an unbaked pie shell will keep in the freezer for at least 3 months. Unbaked shells should be unwrapped and baked while still frozen in a 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes (less for a tart shell, longer for a basic pie crust), or until browned. Allow approximately 3 minutes more than usual baking time for frozen dough.
Baked pie shells should not be held in the freezer for more than 6 weeks. Their texture may lose some crispness in the freezing-defrosting process; try crisping in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. They are great to have in an emergency, since they will defrost in less than 2 hours and may be filled with a variety of cold fillings for a quick, delicious dessert.
FILLED PIES AND FILLED PIE SHELLS
Although you should not freeze pies with custard or cream fillings, pies and pie shells filled with fruit and other mixtures will keep well in the freezer for at least 3 months. I find that unbaked pies remain crisper and more tender and pleasing after freezing than baked pies. Do not defrost them before baking them; bake them, unwrapped, directly from the freezer, in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes and then in a 350 degree oven for the remainder of the baking time. The total baking time for a frozen pie will be about 20 minutes longer than for an unfrozen one.
Baked pies should be frozen only when necessary; if you are left with an uneaten pie on your hands, for example, or are preparing large quantities of pies in advance for the town fair or church supper. Let baked frozen pies defrost unwrapped at room temperature for about 3 hours, then crisp them in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.