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During the holidays, refrigerator space is as valuable as Nashville real estate. This means if you're baking your holiday pies in advance, there might not be enough room to store them next to all your other groceries. Luckily, not all pies have to be refrigerated. In fact, some varieties will taste better if you store them at room temperature. So, how do you know the difference? You went through a great deal of trouble to bake those fabulous pies, and you want to make sure you're presenting them at their very best. Don't worry—there are some basic rules of thumb to follow when it comes to storing pies. To find out which pies do and don't need to be refrigerated, we went to Teresa Stephens, owner/baker, and Ashilee Wickenden, baker, of Cast Iron Grill in Lubbock, Texas, where the pie sells out so fast you have to order it at breakfast to guarantee yourself a slice.
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© Getty Images We're discussing cream pies, counter pies, pumpkin pie, and more.
Do Refrigerate Pies With Egg and Dairy
Pies with dairy and egg that fall in the cream pie category, such as our Coconut Cream Pie or a chocolate mousse pie, should always be refrigerated, according to Stephens and Wickenden. If they're fresh baked, the pair also says you should make sure you give them a chance to set in the refrigerator for at least three to four hours before slicing.
Do Not Refrigerate Counter Pies
According to Stephens and Wickenden, a counter pie is any form of pecan pie or fruit pie like cherry, peach, or apple. The pair say these types of pies can be stored in the refrigerator if you want them to last a day or two longer, but that there's a tradeoff. They explain that if you put them in the refrigerator, they can lose their flavor. They often taste better at room temperature.
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Do You Need to Refrigerate Pumpkin Pie?
Whether or not you should refrigerate pumpkin pie is a little controversial. According to the FDA, pies with dairy and eggs should be refrigerated within about two hours of baking. However, you've probably noticed that a lot of grocery stores and restaurants serve and store them at room temperature. This is because, quite simply, they taste better that way. So, if you're not going to serve your pumpkin pie for a day or two, your best bet is to store it in the refrigerator. Then, place it on the counter so it warms to room temperature before serving.
Do Refrigerate Anything Topped With Cream
You should refrigerate any kind of pie with whipped toppings. "If it's not refrigerated, it will begin to wilt, sweat, and spoil," explain Stephens and Wickenden. For the best results, you should wait and top fruit and pecan pies right before serving. This will allow you to store them at room temperature so they'll taste their very best.
Which Pies Can Be Frozen?
If you've got leftovers after your holiday meal or you're baking your pies in advance, you may be wondering which pies can be frozen. In general, custard and cream pies do not freeze well. They tend to get soggy and unappealing when you defrost them. On the other hand, Stephens and Wickenden say fruit pies freeze quite beautifully. First, let the pie cool to room temperature. Next wrap it in two or three layers of plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. Be sure to enjoy it within about four months.
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