As your thoughts turn to holiday meal planning, you may also be thinking about which dishes can be made ahead and how you can safely store them, both before the meal and afterward. Desserts, most notably sweet potato pies, are always top on the list of items to be made in advance, so you want to be sure you store them properly to keep them as fresh as possible. Unless you serve your pie straight out of the oven, here are a few safety tips to follow to make sure your guests enjoy every single bite of your sweet potato pie.
How to Refrigerate
Sweet potato pies usually contain milk and eggs, so they are essentially baked custard pies and should be stored in the refrigerator. Rule of thumb: If a pie contains milk, cream, and/or eggs, refrigerate it. You’ll also want to refrigerate pies containing evaporated or condensed milk products. Those ingredients contain high levels of protein and moisture that are fertile grounds for the growth of bacteria.
After baking your pie, let it cool completely. This may take two to three hours – you don’t want to feel even a hint of warmth when you touch the bottom of the pie pan. Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil before refrigerating for up to three days.
How to Freeze
While you can freeze a sweet potato or pumpkin pie for up to three months, keep in mind that the texture may change slightly. Once your pie has completely cooled, wrap it securely in a few layers of plastic wrap, then wrap it again in aluminum foil or place it in an airtight freezer container. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Reheat Sweet Potato Pie
If reheating directly from the freezer, place the frozen pie on a baking sheet and heat at 300° for 40-50 minutes. If your pie has a prebaked crust, keep the pie loosely covered with foil-covered until the last 10 minutes. If your sweet potato pie has thawed in the refrigerator, place the chilled pie on the baking sheet and bake at 300° for less time, for about 30 minutes, again keeping the edges of the crust covered. Insert the tip of a knife into the center of the pie to see if the pie has warmed up.
You may prefer to serve the pie at room temperature. Once the pie is completely thawed, put it on the kitchen counter and let it reach the desired temperature. The plastic wrap may leave a few marks on the pie as it is removed; simply cover them up with a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.