When you hear the word ‘pecan,’ does your mind automatically attach the word ‘pie’ to it? Well, you aren’t the only one. Made from pecan nuts, the pecan pie is a heavenly delight that excites our taste buds with its alluring flavor. The popularity of this dessert has grown so much over time that a food holiday (National Pecan Pie Day) is observed on July 12th every year in the United States to celebrate the enthralling taste of pecan pies.
Once you taste a pecan pie, you are bound to make it over and over again. And this is because not only does its flavor give you immense pleasure but it is also a guaranteed way to win over your guests and family members alike. After all, pecan pie became Texas’s Official State for a reason.
However, if you make (or buy from a retail store) a lot of pecan pies in one go because they are your family’s favorite or if you are making them in batches to serve later to your guests, then you are bound to come across one problem.
While making them is relatively easy, storing pecan pies can be quite a challenge as they go bad really fast. Here we have gathered a comprehensive guide on how to store pecan pie that covers every aspect from why this dessert spoils to the different storage techniques and more.
A Brief History of Pecan Pie
Everyone loves a generous serving of a good pecan pie. But have you ever wondered who came up with this genius recipe in the first place?
While pecans have been around for over 8,000 years, the amazing pecan pie wasn’t known to mankind until a few hundred years ago. Most people believe that pecan pie was invented by the French when they settled in New Orleans back in the 18th Century and were introduced to the pecan nut by the Native American tribes. However, sound evidence of this pie dates back to only 1886 when Harper’s Bazaar published the first ‘pecan custard pie’ recipe.
Today, pecan pie has almost become a cultural symbol for the Southern United States and is a popular holiday delight for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and various other occasions as well.
Issues with Storing Pecan Pies
Cannot Be Stored Unbaked
For many desserts and even meals, people often complete all the steps of the recipe and then store the half-prepared dish to cook or bake later when required. These half cooked meals are highly handy and convenient, which can usually be stored in the refrigerator or even freezer for a long time. But the problem with pecan pie is that you cannot combine its ingredients and refrigerate the unbaked mixture.
Pecan pie’s batter contains egg, and therefore, it cannot be kept in the refrigerator or freezer directly due to the raw egg curdling when thawed. The only way to go about is to bake the pie as you normally would and then storing it once it has cooled down.
The Nuts Become Soggy
The essence of pecan pie lies in the crunchy nuts that contrast against the soft and fluffy egg filling. But many times you might have been disappointed when you took the first, much-anticipated bite of your pie only to find that the nuts have become soggy.
If this happens even though you used fresh nuts, then it goes without saying that the reason behind pecan nuts becoming soft and gooey is that the pie wasn’t stored properly after baking.
The Pie Puffs and Then Falls
No words can explain your excitement as well the satisfaction you feel when the pie comes out of the oven with a crisp, solid crust and a smooth texture. But whether you cool it at room temperature or store it in a refrigerator for a longer duration, you might notice that the filling cracks or seeps under the bottom crust. The crust might also break on its own or crack as well.
How to Store Pecan Pie
Tips to Follow Before Storing
If you are baking pecan pie well before serving time but want it to taste as if it has come straight out of the oven, then the key to such freshness is to make sure that you start off on the right foot.
- Before adding them in the egg mixture, always toast the pecan nuts over low heat for a few minutes to prevent them from becoming soft and mushy. However, it is important to toast them without there being any liquids present (i.e., directly in a pan without any oil or butter).
- Secondly, to avoid the crust and/or filling from becoming cracked, make sure that you do not over bake the pie or cool it too quickly by placing it under a fan or in the fridge. Sudden temperature changes harm the consistency and therefore, damage the texture.
If you want to store the pecan pie for short term use, for instance, a few hours or a day before serving, then the first step is to let the pie cool completely before you proceed.
Touch the base of the baking pan containing the freshly baked pecan pie to check if it is at room temperature. Allowing the pie to cool also ensures that it is properly set and will not break due to the movements as you wrap and transfer it to the refrigerator.
Next, wrap the pie in a plastic wrap to keep the air off and retain the freshness. Seal the pan tightly and leave no open spaces before you put the pie in the fridge.
Long Term Storage
After following the above steps, you can keep a pecan pie in a refrigerator for up to a day or two at most without worrying that it will go bad. But if you intend to store it for much longer, you will have to freeze it instead.
As mentioned earlier, never consider freezing a pecan pie that has not been baked yet. Bake the pie as usual (without decreasing the oven time to make allowance for reheating a frozen pie). Then let it sit on a cooling rack at room temperature. Once it has cooled down completely, transfer the pie to a plate or any other storage container suitable for the purpose (types of containers are discussed later). Even if the container that you are using has a lid, it is recommended that you cover the pie in a plastic wrap or aluminum foil as making it airtight will ensure that the texture is maintained till the very end.
While the low temperature in the freezer will help you store the pecan pie for a long time, it can affect the flavor if the pie was not wrapped properly. Thus, add a second layer of protection by using more foil or plastic wrap, or what is better still is that you keep the already wrapped pie in a plastic freezer storage bag.
Thawing a Frozen Pecan Pie
When the craving hits or the guests are about to arrive, here’s how a stored pecan pie will come to the rescue. However, you will need to do this at least 4-5 hours prior to the event or the night before you serve the dessert.
Simply take the pecan pie out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Once it has thawed, reheat it in the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees Celsius) for 15 to 20 minutes and voila!
Devour the delicious pecan pie or serve it to your guests. No one will suspect a thing.
How Long Can You Store Pecan Pie For?
Pecan pie that is kept at room temperature directly must be consumed within a few hours.
In The Refrigerator
Pecan pie that is being kept in the fridge can last for a maximum two days before it goes bad. However, the frozen pie that has been transferred to the refrigerator must be reheated immediately once it has thawed. Otherwise, the crust will absorb the extra moisture and become soft and spongy.
In The Freezer
If you followed the proper storage tips given, then you can freeze the pecan pie for up to two to three months. Try not to keep it longer than that as it will increase the chances of the pie developing freezer burns. The temperatures in the freezer compartment above the refrigerator often fluctuate. So, if you have a deep freezer, store the pie in it for better results.
Equipment Needed for Storing Pecan Pie
Plastic Wrap or Aluminum Foil
Regardless of how long you want to keep it for, if you are not devouring that pie immediately after baking, you will definitely need a food-grade plastic wrap or aluminum foil to retain the freshness and preserve the taste and aroma of the delicious pecan pie.
Plate or a Round Dish
For storing pecan pie for same day use that does not require you to refrigerate it, the simplest way is to transfer the pie to a serving plate or any other round dish. Because you will use the pie within a few hours, you might find it more economical to simply invert another deep dish over the one containing the pie instead of covering it with foil or plastic wrap.
If keeping it in a refrigerator, put the pie in an airtight plastic container.
You can cut up the pie into pieces and store them in any regular household plastic container. But for a more professional touch, you can use a special pie storage container. These usually come with a hinged or detachable lid, which is durable and dishwasher safe. Also, they are airtight which means your pie will not become soggy.
Pecan Pie Gone Bad
A broken crust cracked top, and mushy consistency is not the characteristics of an ideal pecan pie. But this does not mean that the pie has gone bad.
To identify if your pecan pie has spoiled, take a whiff first. A sour and foul smell is the ultimate sign that you must throw the pie away. If it smells fine but you still have doubts, then take a small bite to be sure. Of course, you know what a pecan pie actually tastes like so chuck it in the bin if the pie doesn’t taste like what it should.
Easy as pie, isn’t it?
Now that you know the proper way to store pecan pie, you can make them in large quantities so that you always have a treat at hand. By following these steps your pecan pie will last long enough for you to enjoy every last piece.