Refreezing puff pastry-topped casserole as freezer meals for a sick family member, should I cook first or freeze uncooked?
I've been requested by my mother in law to make the pot pie recipe I use but in a way that can be frozen and then reheated in the future. The recipe I use is a Chowhound recipe that has a puff-pastry top over a casserole dish filled with creamed chicken and veggies. My initial thought was to make the filling, put it in smallish glass containers (borosilicate glass), refrigerate until thoroughly cooled, then top with the puff pastry and freeze. Then they can defrost overnight in the fridge and bake until the filling is warmed and the top is puffed and golden. But with this method, will the top be burned by the time the filling is warmed? Alternately, I could make it all the way through to baking and then freeze in small portions that they can microwave, but then the puff pastry may get soggy. Any recommendations?
- You could assemble the pie, topped with the pastry, and then just instruct that it be baked at a lower temperature (350F). While you may not get as much spring out of the pastry as you would normally at 400F, it'll still be delicious, and the filling will have more of a chance to heat through.
- As a spin on the traditional, along with a bit more ease of preparation....I've cooked the filling stove-top, baked the puff pastry separate (cut into squares), and just topped the filled bowls/ramekins with the puff pastry. It prevents the pastry from getting soggy and ensures a good bake on it. The deconstruction also allows the diner to pour the filling over the pastry (which is how I like to eat it), or use the pastry as a sort of "toast".
Feasibly, if your dish is shallow enough, it could be baked at the high temperature that the puff pastry requires while still warming the filling through...but its really a crap shoot.