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Old 01-10-2010, 09:29 AM   #1
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Restaurant Prep Question (Beef pot pie)

We are currently in the process of adding new items to our menu... I'm looking at doing home made pot pie, however the shell I don't care if its home made or not.

Now my question for this is,... what would be the best way about storing the finished product? Should I par bake them, and freeze? and then reheat in the microwave? Would putting it in the oven after microwaving help recrisp the crust?
Do store bought shells freeze well?
I'm just hoping that I can make a lot of these and freeze them.

Much thanks to any help!


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Old 01-10-2010, 09:43 AM   #2
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Are you doing a one or two crust pie?

For a one crust pie, I would fully cook the filling separately, assemble the pie and bake it fully cook the crust (whether commercial pie crust or puff pastry). Then just reheat as ordered. If it's a one day a week special, you don't have to freeze them if you make them once a week.

Reheating can be done in the microwave then the oven. That's what we do at home.

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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If it's something you're going to serve every day, the filling can be kept in the fridge, then when an order comes, simply fill the frozen pie crust and pop it in the oven until golden brown. That may burn the filling; I'm not sure. If so, simply place the frozen pie crust in the oven, let it warm up, then add the filling and finish cooking.

I hope I understand your question properly.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:33 AM   #4
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it depends on what kind of quality product you are aiming for.

if you are looking strictly for a fast food approach, i can't offer you much advice. most kitchens i ever worked in didn't even have microwaves.

if you're looking for a fresher product, here is the way i would go. this is for a topcrust-only pie. for individual servings, a bottom crust is not necessary. having a bottom crust doesn't really do anything for your palette. not having one saves time & money.

- use rarebit or souffle dishes sized to the individual portions you will be serving

- cut the prepared or purchased pie crust to fit the tops of your rarebit or souffle dishes. a hole for the steam should be made in the center if you will be crimping it onto the rims of your dish, but if they are made to fit inside the rims, nothing need be done. an egg wash makes a very appealing end product. these individual pastry lids can then be frozen & compactly stored to be used while still frozen. if you are using commercial pastry, this is a job a prep person or even your dishwasher can be taught to do easily, further saving money.

for a fairly nice product that requires no prep time and no skill, commercial puff pastry works well, has visual impact, and the leftover trimmings can be used in many ways.

- the filling can be approached a number of ways. prepare a large amount, keep it in the fridge, and portion it into your dishes as the orders come in or portion an estimated number of dishes for the shift and keep them in the fridge.
or you could just make a white or brown sauce & keep it in the bain marie, sauteing your meat & vegetables per order, adding a little sauce at the end of the saute. place in dish.
i'm sure you can come up with other approaches also.

- i would recommend placing the frozen tops on per order, just before popping into the oven. it takes a few extra seconds just when you're busy, but it avoids wastage.

the fast food approach would be to bake off a whole bunch of them at the same time. if you only bake off the estimated number you will be serving for the shift, they needn't even be refridgerated, just warmed up in a hot oven for 5 or 10 minutes. if you do a large number, they will have to be kept in the fridge (for a day or two) or in the freezer. both approaches create reheating problems, especially if they are frozen. essentially, the quality will really suffer, with no real savings in prep or baking time. popped into the oven as soon as the order comes in, they should be ready shortly after the soup / salad are cleared away.

hope this helps
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:54 AM   #5
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I don't think a pot pie is a 'pie' without a bottom crust. The easy way is to cook the contents seperately. It can frozen in individual servings, too.

I use Pillsbury pie crusts.

Bake the pie crust while you are heating the contents. Construct it and serve with with something on top that is visually appearling like lattice strips or a piece of pastry cut in a design that are pre baked. You can bake a lot of individual crusts in ramkins in a commercial oven 0 and it takes less than 5 minutes to construct. .
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:56 PM   #6
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Pie crusts whether homemade or store bought freeze well and thaw fast. You might consider making crusts ahead of time and storing in the freezer between sheets of wax paper. I don't buy much store bought stuff like this but I'm sure there are probably some good brands.
A few thawed crusts could be prebaked unfilled and if unused that night - be reused the next night. You could pipe mashed potatoes over the meat mixture rather than do a 2 crust pie.
Also, for 'dough' based goods, I find the microwave 'rubberizes' things that are or will be baked and would not consider nuking before or after.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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I'd like to offer some things to consider (as a restaurant-goer, not a restaurateur).

If you are saying it's homemade, really make it homemade. Pie crust is really easy and VERY cheap if you make it in-house. By not making the crust, it's really semi-homemade ala Sandra Lee. Your diners will notice the difference because commercial pie crust tastes like chemicals.

Don't consider using a microwave. Again, diners notice these things. We go to a restaurant to get a well-cooked meal we don't have to do ourselves. We can microwave a pot pie at home, too, and it'll probably be a lot cheaper. Don't do this to your diners.

I like philso's ideas.

My only experience is working in a family restaurant (homemade food) 20 years ago, so take this with a grain of salt. This is how I would do it. You can partially blind bake your bottom crusts in the tins and then cool and freeze them. The top crusts can be frozen raw. Each day you can have your crusts and filling thawed. With your filling,since it's stew-like, it could simmer on a back burner at a very low temp. When you get an order, fill the bottom crust, top it, and 10 minutes in a hot oven, you have fresh, and truly homemade pot pie. If you run out of thawed, fresh ingredients, tell your diners that you've run out and it's off the menu for the day. They may be disappointed, but they will know that you are REALLY making everything from scratch and that this item is delicious enough that it's in DEMAND... and to get there earlier next time.

Good luck!

Life is too short to eat processed, artificially-colored, chemically-preserved, genetically-modified food. Or maybe that IS why life's too short.
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