A couple weeks ago, we partook in our usual fall family tradition of going apple picking at the local orchard. We were swimming in apples, and after days and days of snacking on them, it was time to do something with them. My husband is a huge apple pie fan! In the past, we have tried canning apple pie filling and freezing it, but last year I realized that the best way to make easy-access apple pie is to make the complete pie ahead of time and freeze it. After some recipe comparing and tweaking, I’ve discovered the easiest way to make a bunch of pies to freeze, and pull them out whenever we want a treat.
A little secret about me – I really don’t love to cook and bake all that much. But I also don’t like the prices of bakery goods in the stores, and homemade desserts just taste better! So I opt for super simple recipes – lemme tell ya, if a recipe has more than 8 ingredients, it’s probably not going to happen. If I’m making a soup that calls for 7 different spices, I pick the 3 that seem like the most important and skip the rest. (If it has garlic, you don’t notice any other flavors anyway, right?)
Simple is my jam. These pies are simple. And tasty.
For each pie, you will need:
- 6 small apples
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt (1/4 tsp if you like measurements)
- 2 tbsp butter (preferably salted)
- 2 pie crusts, a top and a bottom (I like this super simple recipe but sometimes I buy the premade Pillsbury ones!)
- a tiny bit of water and sugar for sprinkling on the top pie crust
- disposable pie pans and foil (OR, if you don’t want to buy disposable pans, see freezing instructions below for an awesome hack!)
- Peel and core your apples, and slice them into thin pieces. This year we invested in one of these apple corer/peeler/spiral slicer gadgets, and it is officially my favorite kitchen tool. I don’t know why we waited so many years to buy one! My 6yo was peeling apples for his siblings for fun. It made this part go sooo much faster. (I made 4 pies, so I used about 24 apples.)
- Mix your flour, sugar, salt, & cinnamon together – 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch of salt for EACH pie. You can do it all in one big batch. Pour onto the top of your apples. Mix it all up.
3. Line your pans with pie crust.
4. Fill your pans with a generous helping of sugar/floury/cinnamony apples.
5. v v important! Put several pats of butter on top of the apples. I only buy salted butter, because everything is better with salt, but unsalted will work just fine. This will make the apples extra gooey and give them a richer flavor when they are cooked.
6. Add the tops of the pie crusts, seal the edges, and cut some slashes in the top for ventilation. Brush the top of the crust with a little water and sprinkle with a little sugar (about 1 tsp per pie).
7. Double-wrap pies in aluminum foil. Place each pie in a gallon-size ziplock bag for extra protection against freezer burn (if you plan to use them within a month or two, the bag isn’t really necessary.) Freeze. I prefer to put them in the freezer for a few hours before stacking them, just so they don’t sink in on the top, but once they’re solid, they stack pretty well.
[foil pan tip: if you don’t want to buy disposable pans, you can freeze the pies in regular glass or metal pans. Before you start, line the pans with aluminum foil or parchment paper so the pie can easily be removed. Stick the pan in the freezer for several hours, until they are completely frozen, and then remove the pie from the dish and freeze in a gallon plastic bag. When you are ready to bake, transfer the pie from the freezer back into the glass/metal pan, and bake in the pan.
The downside to this is that unless you have several pie pans, you can’t do as many at once as you wait for your pies to freeze before removing them. The things they don’t tell you when you register for wedding gifts… 3 pie plates would be more useful than 12 wine glasses, don’tchathink? Unless you’re in the habit of freezing wine…]
When you want a freshly-baked pie:
- Preheat oven to 425. Remove pie from freezer, remove all wrappings. Place one sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the pie loosely (to prevent the crust edges from burning) and place directly into oven. DO NOT THAW; you don’t want a soggy crust.
- Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
- Lower temp to 350; bake for 40-45 more minutes. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking to allow the top crust to brown a bit. (All ovens bake differently, so you may want to remove the foil sooner or later – just eyeball it and don’t let the edges get too crispy.)
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if possible. 🙂
I really don’t think this recipe could be any easier, and it’s way cheaper (and more gratifying) than buying frozen pies from the store!
Done any freezer cooking lately? Share what you’ve been up to!