In a perfect pie, the crust is just as important as the filling. Save time and cut your pie prep time in half by using a make-ahead pie crust. The classic pastry dough can be stored in the fridge or freezer for quick and convenient use in your favorite dessert recipes.

Make your pie crust and then store it in the freezer so it's ready when you are.

To get a jump start on your next pastry project, prepare your favorite pastry dough recipe as directed, but don't roll it out. Instead, flatten the pastry into a patty or form it into a ball, then wrap it in plastic wrap, label, and seal. Refrigerate the homemade pie crust for up to 3 days. Be sure to allow the pastry to come to room temperature before rolling out for pie. Not ready to use your pie crust in the upcoming days? Place it in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you're in a pie-baking mood, thaw the pastry overnight in the refrigerator.

Want to store a pie crust that has already been fitted to a pie plate or tart pan? Roll out the pie crust, and fit it to a freezer-to-oven pie plate or tart pan. Place the pastry and container in a freezer bag and freeze as directed. In order to bake frozen pastry shells without thawing, you must be sure to use a freezer-to-oven pie plate. You may need to add 5 or 10 minutes to the baking time. You can also bake a pastry shell before storing it. Blind baking, which simply means baking a pastry shell before it is filled, creates a stronger crust that can better hold moist filling, such as egg mixture in quiche. Prepare and roll out the pastry dough. Generously prick the bottom and sides of the pastry in a pie plate with a fork. Line pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. This helps to weigh down the crust and prevent it from bubbling up or blistering. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To store the baked pie crust, cool the pastry shell. Wrap it in foil and place in a freezer container or bag. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight before using.

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