Pork Pies - Should I freeze? Workflow for very small scale Business

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Joined Mar 23, 2018
Hi

I am an Englishman living in Asia and like many English folk, I am partial to a cold pork pie with a bit of salad and a strong cheddar. There is now a growing interest in my pies over here. I can make around 30 at a time - still a very small turnover. Demand fluctuates and so I need a way to save pies for later. So the question is, "Can I freeze and keep quality high/if so at what stage do I freeze?"

The pies are made with hot water crust pastry/jelly made from pigs feet/pork shoulder,pork belly and cured bacon. The pastry is very fatty (made with homemade lard and butter). Meat has a good amount of fat too from belly and bacon. At the moment I assemble them in molds and par-bake 30 min then take out of molds, brush with egg wash sprinkle with thyme and a bit of kosher salt and then bake a further 40 min.

Should I:

1. Assemble pies and then partially freeze, take out of molds and vacuum seal (I have a chamber vacuum machine already). Store in freezer.
2. Cook 30min - take out of molds, cool and vacuum seal. Store in freezer.
3. Cook completely then seal and freeze.

And then as needed I would cook from frozen then add jelly

4. Cook completely and add jelly then seal and freeze

Any ideas?

Concerns are soggy pies. issues with freezing the jelly.Taste..

Thanks
 
4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
#1...altho in order to protect the integrity of the pastry I would freeze completely and not go full blast with the vacuum.
Also IME....freezing may change the flavor and texture of some of the ingredients in your product.
This change may not be for the better and end up decreasing the popularity in your target market (see comment re "not as perfect" in previous post).

mimi
 
4,272
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
If I were you I'd try it. But not option #4... that is perhaps the riskiest. Of your three other options, I'd do #3 as the first experiment. The pastry and meat will be okay. My concern, like yours, is the jelly going wonky. But putting it in after thawing and reheating might work just fine. Probably will work!
 
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Joined Mar 14, 2018
I think your first option is your best option in my opinion. I would just build them and then freeze and cook them off when I wanted to eat one.
 
4,272
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Two heretofore unanswered questions are making it difficult to discern the benefit of the options:

How many pies will you need at one time and how fast do you need them to be available from the frozen state?
How much lead time do you have regarding knowing the quantity required?

Between options 1 and 3 maybe it really doesn't matter much since they need to be hot when jelly is put in and cooled... so I now thinking that BeltwayChef is right... option 1 may be the most effective:

build; cool/vacuumpack; freeze and store; cook; jellify; cool; serve/eat
versus
build; cook; cool/vacuumpack; freeze and store; reheat; jellify; cool; serve/eat
 
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