A woman I know asked me recently, “Jay, can you freeze pumpkin pie?”

I paused, and then told her, “Sure you can, but it probably won’t taste as good as fresh-baked.”

When I got home, I thought to myself, “That was a dumb answer. I think she needs to know HOW to freeze a pumpkin pie.”

I don’t want Jo’s homemade dessert reduced to a watery filling and soggy crust because I wasn’t specific with directions.

What I want her to do is clip the following information I found on everythingpies.com.

First off, a pumpkin pie can be stored for up to a month in the freezer, but after two weeks, the pie exponentially starts to degrade in taste and texture.

For the best results, follow these steps:

Step 1: The pie must be completely cool before wrapping, and even better if it is slightly chilled. If this is not done, the steam will get trapped below the wrapper. The extra moisture will then move into your crust and destroy its texture and taste.

Step 2: Wrap the pie completely with plastic wrap. If gaps appear, place another layer over to cover it.

Step 3: Wrap the whole thing with aluminum foil. The purpose of the foil is to prevent funky smells and odors in the freezer from entering your pie. (Never place pie in a freezer with fish.)

Step 4: Place pumpkin pie on a flat surface in the freezer until it is frozen solid, then you can place it any which way it will fit.

There is a right way to thaw out your pie, too.

Step A: Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the pie and throw away.

Step B: Place the pie in the refrigerator on a flat surface for at least four to eight hours.

Step C: If you want to heat up the pie or if it still is a little too cold to eat after thawing, use the microwave oven. Do not heat it all at once. Place the pie in the microwave for 15 seconds, then let it rest for two minutes. Repeat the process until the pie has reached the desired temperature.

Store the remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to three days. Do not refreeze a pie that was once frozen.

 

This pumpkin pie recipe is too late for Thanksgiving, but, who knows, you might want to freeze a couple for Christmas. This classic version is courtesy of Food Network Magazine.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

• 1 disk Basic Pie Dough, recipe follows

• All-purpose flour, for dusting

• 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin

• 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

• 2/3 cup granulated sugar

• 3 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Basic Pie Dough (makes two):

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

• 1/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons ice water (if needed)

To make the pie dough, pulse the flour, shortening, sugar, vinegar and salt in a food processor until it looks like fine meal. Add the butter and pulse until it is in pea-size pieces. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup ice water and pulse until the dough begins to come together. Pinch the dough with your fingers; if it doesn't hold together, add up to 4 more tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse again.

Divide the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and pat each into a disk. Wrap disks tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or preferably overnight, or freeze up to two months.

To make a pie, roll out one disk dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp the edges with your fingers. Pierce the bottom and sides all over with a fork. Chill at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the chilled dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until the crust is golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the filling: Gently whisk the pumpkin, cream, granulated sugar, 2 eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt (do not overmix). Beat the remaining egg and brush on the crust edge; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until set around the edges, 50 minutes to one hour (the middle will still jiggle slightly). Transfer to a rack; let cool completely.

Makes eight to 10 servings.

 

My longtime hairstylist, Gwen Street, said the following spaghetti casserole is her husband’s favorite meal. He told her to share it with me.

I don’t remember this recipe, but it was published in the Times Record in 1998.

Baked Spaghetti

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 1 cup chopped green pepper

• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

• 3 cans Ro-tel diced tomatoes, with liquid

• 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

• 1 can (4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

• 2 tablespoons dried basil

• 3 tablespoons dried oregano

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

• 12 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained

• 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

• 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

• 1/2 cup water

• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, basil, oregano, garlic powder and browned ground beef. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place half of the spaghetti in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with half of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 2 cups cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. After the second layer of cheddar cheese, sprinkle all of the Parmesan cheese on top.

Mix soup and water until smooth and pour over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 12 servings.

 

When I read the slug on the email, “Why Nudists' Favorite Kitchen Aid is the Slow Cooker,” I had to open it.

“Nudists, like most of us, love to cook,” begins the news release. “But, according to the majority of the American Association for Nude Recreation members, they have a major incentive to avoid hot splatters. So, they often pull out their slow cookers for delicious, splatter-free meals.”

It makes sense. You don’t want hot grease escaping the frying pan and burning your … stomach.

The association shares a couple of recipes, and they sound pretty good.

So, strip off your clothes and grab that slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

• 2 pounds lean ground beef

• 1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 cup 2 percent milk

• 1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)

• 1 jar (45 ounces) spaghetti sauce

• 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti, cooked and drained

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the beef (yes, it goes in uncooked!) into a 6-quart slow cooker. Break up the beef with a fork and season as desired.

Stir in the onion, garlic, milk, wine, if desired, and sauce. Cover and cook on low for seven to eight hours or high for four to five hours (start making the spaghetti during the last half hour of the cook time). Spoon off any fat. Stir the beef mixture, breaking up any large pieces of beef. Season to taste. Serve with the spaghetti and cheese.

I don’t know if you’re expected to eat the whole thing or invite a bunch of naked people over for dinner. But this should make several servings.

 

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

• 1 1/2 pounds small red-skin potatoes, halved

• 1 large onion, cut into wedges

• 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

• 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

• 3 sprigs fresh thyme

• 4-pound corned beef brisket

• 1 bottle (12 ounces) stout beer

• 2 tablespoons pickling spice

• 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into thick wedges

• 1/2 cup sour cream

• 1/4 cup horseradish

• 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

• 3 tablespoons butter

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Layer the potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and thyme in a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Add the beer and pickling spice. Add enough water to just cover the brisket. Cover and cook on low until the meat and vegetables are tender, about eight hours.

Arrange the cabbage over the brisket. Cover and cook until soft and wilted, 45 minutes to one hour.

Whisk together the sour cream, horseradish and mustard in a small bowl.

Remove the cabbage and toss with 1 tablespoon butter and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Remove the meat and let rest. Strain the remaining vegetables and toss with the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the corned beef against the grain and serve with the vegetables and horseradish sauce.

Again, this probably serves several nudists, but the association doesn’t tell us how many.

Looking for a recipe? Have one you’d like to share? Write to Potluck, Times Record, P.O. Box 1359, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Email: jharshaw@swtimes.com.