Care of your creations
You've invested a lot of time and effort in creating your pies - so here's how to make sure you get the best out of them:
Empty Pie Shells
Q. Can I freeze my empty shells until I'm ready to use them?
A. Your shells will freeze beautifully! Remember to freeze them as soon as you receive them.
As soon as you receive your shells, remove the sachet of seasoning from the box and if you have room in your freezer, pop the whole box in - they'll freeze quickly and will also be well protected from damage.
If you don't have room for the whole box in your freezer, remove the shells carefully, cover (cling film or foil will do) and pop them in your freezer - they'll take up less room that way.
Q. How long will my empty shells keep in the freezer?
A. At -18 degrees centigrade, the shells will keep for a year. For freezers that run at higher temperatures and ice-boxes, you should consult the appliance manufacturer's guidelines.
Q. How long do my shells take to defrost and will they be different to fresh shells once I defrost them?
Once you're ready to use them, remove from the freezer, uncover and defrost at room temperature for about 30 mins. Once defrosted, they will behave like fresh shells again, ready to be filled as you desire - now you can get busy filling them with your favourite recipes!
Filled, Unbaked Pie Shells
Q. Can I freeze my filled pie shells and bake them later?
A. Yes, you can. This is a great way to ensure that there is tasty food waiting for you in your freezer at all times. You know what you filled the shells with and can enjoy them even more. If it is a cold filling (such as classic scotch pie filling), then you should lid, cover and freeze them straight away. If you have a hot filling (such as steak & gravy, mac & cheese etc), then fill the shells with the hot filling - this will ensure that the filling cools down more quickly. Wait until the filling is cool (approx 30 mins) then lid (or grate cheese over them), cover and freeze.
Q. Can I bake my pies from frozen?
A. Yes, you can. The most important thing is to ensure that the filling centre is piping hot to make sure your pies are safe to eat. The centre should be 75 degrees centigrade or more for those of you with a kitchen thermometer. You should reduce your oven temperature by 10-20 degrees (depending on the type of oven you have) and increase the cooking time by 10 mins - this should ensure that the outside of your pie will not burn, but the inside is hot enough. Remember, the centre of the filling should be piping hot!
Filled, Baked Pies
Q. Can I eat my pies cold?
A. Yes, you can. After you bake your pies, making sure your filling is bubbling hot, let them cool down at room temperature for 60 mins. Cover and pop them in the refrigerator, making sure that they are on a higher shelf than any raw meat that you may have in the refrigerator.
Q. How long will my pies last in the refrigerator?
A. This is a difficult question to answer and depends on the filling type and cooking method. Scotch pies should last 3 days in a refrigerator which runs at 5 degrees centigrade or below, but the best idea is to bake your pies the day before you intend to eat them cold (for picnics, lunches etc) - that way you are guaranteed the freshest, tastiest pies!
Q. Why should I buy your "Special Seasoning" and "Special Gravy Mix"?
A. Our seasoning and gravy mix are "tried and tested" and used with our recipes, will produce a delicious pie for you. They are also a "base" for your experimentation though and we encourage our customers to experiment! Some customers have added chopped chillis, jalapenos, onion, leek, marmite and other such wonderful things to the "special seasoning" to make vastly different results - all fantastic, but all using the "special seasoning". Similarly, the "special gravy" has been tweaked by our customers to their own tastes - additions include basil, dried mushrooms, oyster sauce, liver, onion etc etc. You are free, of course, to buy the shells on their own - have fun and enjoy them!