Should You, or Should You NOT Refrigerate Your Pie?

First of all, not all pies are created equal. Here’s a quick rundown of ideal pie-storage times and methods, as gleaned from the Illinois State Extension Service, the pros at Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, and the gurus at the USDA.

For custard and cream pies, and any pies containing eggs and dairy. Cover with plastic wrap as soon as they’re cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Fruit-filled pies. Storable at room temp for up to 2 days, then refrigerate for up to 2 days.

How about freezing pies? Some you can and some you can’t. Which pies freeze well? Fruit pies, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie come out totally unscathed. But you don’t want to freeze mousse pies, custard pies, and meringue pies. And when you do freeze them, be sure to wrap the pie in plastic and then foil to protect your prize pies from freezer burn.

All this pie talk has me drooling for some. In this state of drooling, I went looking for some tried-and-true, but unusual and easy pie recipes (which is kind of like going to the grocery store hungry—not wise).

Anyway, I did run on to several intriguing suggestions: Saskatoon-Serviceberry Rhubarb Pie (Saskatoon berries, also known as serviceberries, look like blueberries but are more closely related to apples and have a sweet, nutty flavor), Cracker Pie, (a non-crust pie made with meringue, nuts, and Ritz or saltine crackers; it originated as a "make-do recipe" during the Great Depression and has a chewy, brownie-like texture thanks to the combination of egg whites and nuts).

A few other less-known but regional traditions include Carrot Pie (an old-school alternative to sweet potato and pumpkin pie that has a similar flavor profile to pumpkin pie), Flapper Pie (a vanilla custard pie with meringue and a cinnamony graham-cracker crust; it’s a classic Canadian dessert that dates back to the 19th century), No-Fail Bean Pie (a traditional Muslim pie made with navy beans, evaporated milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg; its flavor and texture profile are similar to sweet potato pie), and Mock Coconut Pie, aka Spaghetti Squash Pie (it’s no joke, and it’s GOOD)!

But the one for which I’ll share a recipe is the Brown Sugar Pie. I chose this because polls show Pecan Pie is tied with Pumpkin as being a favorite holiday pie. Brown Sugar Pie has the same flavor profile as pecan pie, just without the pecans and is extremely rich despite only requiring six ingredients. If you love pecan pie but find it a little pricey due to the need for pecans, then this nutless version might be very appealing to you. It’s also known as tarte au sucre blun and Quebec sugar pie, and is a traditional French Canadian dessert.

In closing, my hunch is that if your pies are good and tempting, “Should you, or should you NOT refrigerate your pie?” won’t be an issue. They won’t be around long enough to worry about it. But it’s good to know what to do, just in case. Meanwhile, let’s start practicing our holiday baking with some of this Brown Sugar Pie!

Brown Sugar Pie Filling


6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a saucepan, combine flour and sugar. Stir in milk, butter, salt and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Pour into an unbaked pie shell.

3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 25 minutes.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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