Pie dough can be frozen and used at a later date but if you still want those flaky, tender layers you get from non-frozen dough, you need to follow a couple simple steps.
Once you’ve made and portioned your dough, flatten it slightly into a fat disc and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Write the date on the plastic.
The One Step You Shouldn’t Skip
This next part is the most important part and the one that most people skip. Put the wrapped disc of dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes first, not directly in the freezer. Why? Two reasons.
First, you want the flour in the dough to continue to absorb the liquid. This will help soften the end result and make it easier to ultimately roll out when you are ready to make the pie.
Second, this time in the fridge allows the gluten strands to relax. While you don’t want a lot of gluten in your dough or it will be tough, you do want some or it will be a crumbly mess.
If you want, you can leave the dough in the refrigerator for up to three days and still use it without a problem. Otherwise, toss it in the freezer.
How long will the dough last in the freezer?
This appears to be a matter of debate. Or maybe taste. Cookie legend Dorie Greenspan says to use it up within a month. Ina Garten says three months is okay and no less than Julia Child said she made a perfectly fine pie with year-old frozen dough.
What’s the best way to defrost frozen pie dough?
You have two choices and both revolve around time and temperature.
You can take out dough and leave it on the counter until it is in a rollable state. How do you know the dough has reached a rollable state? Dough tends to roll out best between 52 and 56 degrees.
If you’re on the ball, you can also take it out the day before and let it defrost overnight in the fridge and then put it on the counter until it warms up to the proper temperature.
Also note, you don’t have to freeze after the dough shaping stage. You could alternatively freeze flat on a cookie sheet or already shaped in a pie tin. Take the shaped dough out and proceed with the filling as the oven preheats.
Just like saving frozen cookie dough in the fridge, having a few frozen pie discs in the freezer can be really handy when the pie baking urge hits.