Jane Ruth, of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, was hosting a large family gathering—and catering it herself. Faced with the prospect of baking enough pies to feed a crowd, she asked: How far in advance can one make a pie?

As with most baked goods or pastries, pie is best when it’s fresh-baked. But when it comes to double-crust pies, there are several options for prepping them ahead of time.

One way is to freeze your pie crust. To do this, roll out the bottom crust, position it in the pie plate without trimming the edges, wrap it with plastic wrap, then set it on a baking sheet and freeze. The top crust can be rolled out and frozen flat on a parchment-lined plate. To bake, allow both crusts to thaw at room temperature until pliable but still cold, then proceed with filling and baking the pies.

Double-crust pies also can be baked up to three days ahead of serving and re-warmed to freshen them up. In our testing, we found that the reheated pies lost some of their original crispness, but they still were tasty. For this approach, be sure that the fresh-­baked pies have cooled completely to room temperature (this can take up to four hours). Once they’ve fully cooled, wrap them snugly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. To refresh them, heat at 325°F in the center of the oven until the filling is completely warmed through, 25 to 30 minutes (to prevent burning, loosely position a sheet of foil over the top of the pie as it reheats). Let the pies cool at least 10 minutes before serving—for best results, they should be allowed to cool completely before slicing. This process of heating and cooling the pie helps dry out some of the moisture the crust absorbs while in the refrigerator.

See here for more cooking tips inspired by questions on our radio show, and find more from Milk Street Magazine here.

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