FAQs
Answers to common questions...
Care & Handling (For detailed handling, serving and display suggestions, see our product info page) Baking Instructions for Unbaked-Frozen Pies TRADITIONAL FRUIT PIES 1. Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat oven to 425°. 2. Brush top of frozen pie with beaten whole egg (avoid edges to prevent over-browning). 3. Center pie on foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. 4. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400° and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes for Berry Supreme and Peach, or 35- 45 minutes for Strawberry-Rhubarb, Apple and Sugarless Apple. 5. Remove pie when the crust is evenly browned and the juice breaks through the crust and appears thickened and bubbling (ovens may vary, so adjust temperature and baking time accordingly and check doneness every 15 minutes). 6. Carefully remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the pie to cool for 2-3 hours before serving. 7. To store: cover cooled pie with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature in a cool place away from heat or direct sunlight. Best if served within 3 days, or one week refrigerated. GLUTEN FREE FRUIT PIES 1. Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat oven to 350°. 2. Brush top of frozen pie with beaten whole egg (avoid edges to prevent over-browning). 3. Center pie on foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. 4. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325° and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, checking regularly. 5. Remove pie when the crust is evenly browned and the juice breaks through the crust and appears thickened and bubbling (ovens may vary, so adjust temperature and baking time accordingly and check doneness every 15 minutes). 6. Carefully remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the pie to cool for 2-3 hours before serving. 7. To store: cover cooled pie with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature in a cool place away from heat or direct sunlight. Best if served within 3 days, or one week if refrigerated. TRADITIONAL PUMPKIN PIES 1. Remove pie from freezer and put in refrigerator for 4 hours to defrost. 2. Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat oven to 400°. 3. Center pie on foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. 4. Bake defrosted Pumpkin Pie at 4000° for 20 minutes, and then check it. If pie is browning too fast or boiling, reduce heat to 350° and bake for approximately 25 more minutes, or until the center of the pie is set (ovens may vary, so adjust temperature and baking time accordingly). 5. Allow pie to cool for 2-3 hours before serving at room temperature. 6. To store: cover cooled pie with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. Best if served within 6 days when refrigerated. 7. PLEASE NOTE: This pastry cannot be baked in a hot oven (over 400°) GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN PIES 1. Remove pie from freezer and put in refrigerator for 4 hours to defrost. 2. Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat oven to 350°. 3. Center pie on foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. 4. Bake defrosted Pumpkin Pie at 350° for 20 minutes, and then check it. If pie is browning too fast or boiling, reduce heat to 300° and bake for approximately 25 more minutes, or until the center of the pie is set (ovens may vary, so adjust temperature and baking time accordingly). 5. Allow pie to cool for 2-3 hours before serving at room temperature. 6. To store: cover cooled pie with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. Best if served within 6 days when refrigerated. 7. PLEASE NOTE: This pastry cannot be baked in a hot oven (over 350°) Traveling with Pies Upper Crust Pies love to travel, whether it's a 4-hour road trip to Tahoe in the summertime, or a long flight in the belly of an airplane to London. They will go and arrive in great condition if you use a little common sense: Baked Pies: Road Trip: Find a level spot in the trunk of your vehicle, on the floor where the baked pie will not slide and fall. If it stays warm at room temperature, it will be delicious upon your arrival (otherwise see reheating instructions to warm the pie before serving). Wrap it up and refrigerate to keep for several days. Airplane: Do not check the pie with your luggage! Take it as carry-on and carefully place it on the floor under the seat. The pastry is delicate and cannot be tossed about. Frozen Pies: Road Trip: Be sure to wrap the unbaked-frozen pie in plastic, and then box it. The more pies you pack together the better, as they act as cooling agents for each other. Keep the pies level so that if they defrost, the juices will not run out. If defrosted, simply put them in the freezer and bake that day (follow baking instructions) OR bake at a later date (they last for 10-12 months unchanged). Airplane: Wrap the frozen pies in plastic, box them, and wrap in more plastic, aluminum foil, etc. We recommend putting the pies in a suitcase or a box and "checking" them, as the belly of the airplane is much colder than the passenger compartment. Do not use ice. Put the pies in the freezer at your destination and bake at your convenience. Reheating Instructions for Baked Pies In the oven: Preheat oven to 350°. Place uncovered pie on a baking sheet in center of oven for approximately 10 minutes, until warmed to the touch. In the Microwave: Remove portion of the pie you want to heat from the aluminum pie tin and place on a microwaveable container. Heat one slice for approximately 20 seconds, or until warmed. Storing Key Lime Pies To preserve freshness, keep pie in freezer after purchase until ready to serve. Defrost in refrigerator for about 1 hour prior to serving, or cut the number of slices you wish to serve and leave at room temperature until they are defrosted to your liking. Is it possible to freeze already-baked pies? Yes, we have been told by our customers that on occasion they have covered our pie with plastic wrap and then tin foil to keep air out and preserve freshness (can also be done with individual slices). When ready to eat, simply remove the foil and wrap and allow cooling to room temperature or follow reheating instructions above. While it is possible to freeze our baked pies, we do not always encourage it. Upper Crust values freshness, which is why our pies are so delicious. To enjoy our pies at your own convenience, try our Christine’s Unbaked-Frozen Pies. How long do the pies keep? Freshly-Baked Pies: Refrigerated: 6 - 8 days. Unrefrigerated: 4 days optimally (6 days if kept in cool place) ** ALWAYS REFRIGERATE PIES AFTER PURCHASE UNLESS SERVING IMMEDIATELY** Key Lime Pie: 6-8 days in refrigerator, 2-3 weeks in freezer. Unbaked-Frozen Pies & Frozen Pastry Shells: 10 – 12 months in freezer. What’s a typical serving size? (To see serving diagrams, please visit our product info page) Large 10” Size (Serves 8-10) Medium 8” Size (Serves 6-8) Small 6” Size (Serves 2-4) How do you cut the perfect slice of pie? When slicing our pies, we suggest you use a wide-bladed, extremely sharp knife. No serrated blades. The sharper the knife, the easier it is to cut cleanly through the pastry and filling. Cut through the diameter of the pie, creating equal sized slices. To remove a slice from the pie tin, use your fingers to carefully bend the edge of the tin under the slice you'd like to serve. This allows space to slide a pie server in without breaking the edge of the pastry. Also see more of our serving and display tips by clicking here. Our Pies How much do your pies cost? The price for our pies varies depending on the retail market location. For smaller orders please contact us and we’ll gladly refer you to several markets in your area. For larger orders that require special handling instructions, additional serving materials and pick-up/delivery options, please contact us or visit our personal celebrations page. Why are Upper Crust pies more expensive than other pies? The answer is quality. As with many high-end products, you get what you pay for with Upper Crust. We make homemade quality pies just like the kind you’d make in your own home. They are handmade in small batches by loyal employees, some of whom have been with us for over 15 years. Our pies are made with the best ingredients on the market, including Grade-A quality butter, enriched unbleached flour, organic Xylitol sweetener, even authentic Key Lime juice from Key West, Florida.  Our quality is uncompromising; we never make substitutions or take short-cuts in order to save time or money. We don’t use canned fruit, jellies, artificial flavors or machines to make our pies. When you taste a handmade pie by Upper Crust, you can be sure every flavor and ingredient is the absolute best. On another note, we are a wholesale bakery that delivers to specialty markets and upscale retail locations around the San Francisco Bay Area. As such, retail pricing for our pies varies depending on the location. Upper Crust does not choose the retail price charged for our pies, but instead we trust our valued accounts to set a fair price for our shared customers. Why does my double-crusted pie have a crack in the top pastry? Unlike to many commercially-made pies pumped with shortening and preservatives, Upper Crust makes our pies using natural ingredients and no preservatives or fillers. When the pies are made, they’re filled to the brim with real fruit and the pastry creates a dome shape. During baking, the fruit bakes down and the pastry can sometimes bend, creating texture in the top pastry. This is completely normal for a homemade-quality pie! In fact, many of our customers say that this texture is how they can tell our pies are handmade, just like the kind you’d make in your own home. What’s the difference between Upper Crust and Christine’s? Upper Crust Pies are freshly-baked and found in market bakery departments and various restaurants around the Bay Area. They come in our 10”, 8” and 6” sizes. Christine’s is the name given to our 8” Unbaked-Frozen Pies, retail packaged and found in the freezer section of your local markets. The packaging is freezer safe, and therefore different than our traditional Upper Crust pin-striped pie box. Despite the separate packaging, they are the exact same superior quality pie with the same famous Upper Crust taste.
Ingredients Are the pies made with vegetable shortening? No, our pastry is made with real butter and contains Zero Trans Fat. It is hand-rolled, flaky, and delicious! In 2011 a California law took effect banning all Trans fats, and as of early 2010 we have removed trans fat (vegetable shortening) from our facility. How much sugar do you use in your pies? Upper Crust Pies contain very little sugar. In fact, we use less than 1/4 cup in an entire 8" pie, which is less sugar than in a glass of your morning juice. Customers say our pies taste “like a dish of fresh fruit” and are “not too sweet!” Do you offer No Sugar Added products? We offer a No Sugar Added Apple Pie made with organic Xylitol, the all-natural sugar substitute derived from fibrous plants. It tastes just like our traditional Apple Pie, but is safe for diabetics and people watching their sugar intake. Learn more about this flavor and its ingredients here. Do you offer Gluten-Free products? Yes! We offer our Freshly-Baked Apple, Berry Supreme, Peach, Strawberry-Rhubarb and Bing Cherry flavors (Pumpkin in the fall) in our Wheat & Gluten Free pastry! Made with garbanzo bean flour, the pies are flaky, delicious and safe for those with food allergies. Our Frozen Pastry Shells are also available Gluten Free, ready to fill with your own favorite recipe! See our product info page to learn more about our Gluten-Free recipe. Are the pies organic? Unfortunately at this time, we cannot use organic ingredients and still keep the price of our pies down for our customers. We plan to keep the option in mind for the future when organic ingredients come down in price. Where does your fruit come from? Our fruit comes mainly from the Pacific Northwest and is delivered by our distributors as IQF (Individually Quick-Frozen). It is real, fresh fruit picked at its peak then flash frozen to preserve freshness. No cans and no jelly; just beautiful berries and fruit. This is what allows us to make consistently delicious pies all year ‘round! Ordering Pies Where can I purchase Upper Crust Pies? Our pies can be found at many upscale specialty markets around the San Francisco Bay Area. Please see our Where to Buy page for more details. For a store nearest you, please call (415) 485-5658 or e-mail us at Info@ChristinesPies.com. What if a store doesn’t have the flavor/size that I want? Often markets that carry our pies will accept special orders if placed with the bakery. We especially recommend ordering in advance during the holidays, as many markets sell out of Upper Crust quickly. If you do not see Upper Crust at the market where you shop, please take a moment to express your wishes to the store manager or fill out a request form for their  suggestion box. You may also fill out our contact box with the name(s) of local markets, restaurants or cafes where you would like to see Upper Crust products. Can the pies be shipped? At this time our facility is not equipped to ship pies via UPS, FedEx, or any other carrier. If you would like to ship an Upper Crust Pie, you must do so independently. We apologize for any inconvenience. Do you sell pies for retail sale at your bakery? Upper Crust is a wholesale bakery and does not have a retail storefront. Please call (415) 485-5658 with your specific requests and we can direct you to a market near you. Occasionally we will allow volume orders for large events to be picked up at our bakery with advance scheduling and preparation. Please click here for more information. What if I want to order only a couple pies directly from you? We sometimes offer order service directly from our bakery as a convenience for customers with large orders, as they often require special handling instructions, additional serving materials, and greater flexibility with pick-up schedules. For those who are looking to order a couple pies, please contact us and we’ll gladly refer you to a retail market in your area. What if I want to sell your pies at my place of business? We would love to hear from you! Please see our wholesale information page. The Bakery What are the directions to your bakery? From Highway 101: 1. Take the I-580/Richmond Bridge/Francisco Blvd. Exit towards Francisco Blvd.  2. Turn LEFT on Bellam Blvd.  3. Turn RIGHT on Francisco Blvd. EAST (Kerner Loop)  4.  Arrive at 1133 East Francisco Blvd. on your left; a two-story, beige stucco building. The Upper Crust Office door is immediately behind a storefront called Minuteman Press. *** PLEASE NOTE: Upper Crust does not have a retail storefront and therefore cannot accommodate walk-in orders. We bake-to-order every pie, meaning we need advance notice and preparation for any pick-ups at our bakery. Please contact us with questions. *** Does Upper Crust give tours of the bakery? Unfortunately, we are unable to offer regular facility tours to the general public due to timing constraints and health concerns in our production area. Upper Crust sometimes hosts special events or promotions, which take place in our bakery. In the past we have accommodated a local Girl Scout Troupe with a tour and pie-making demonstration, and recently hosted a tour by Whole Foods for its customers. If you have a group interested in touring our facility, please contact us at Sales@ChristinesPies.com, remembering that we can only accommodate a select few due to our production schedule. We appreciate your understanding. Does Upper Crust give donations? We are committed to supporting our community through local charities and organizations. To request a donation for an upcoming event, please send all information about the event (including reason for donation, time, location, number of attendees, requested donation, etc.) to Info@ChristinesPies.com at least 4 weeks in advance of event. Please allow 1-2 weeks to review requests. We will review it and get back to you if we are able to participate. Unfortunately due to the number of requests received each year, if you do not hear back from us it means we are unable to participate at this time. Thank you for your interest, and we wish you every success with your event. Is Upper Crust currently hiring? Our employment page is currently under construction, please check back with us soon. Fun Facts What is your most popular pie flavor? While all of our pies are delicious, some flavors tend to be more popular depending on the season. We’ve found that during the fall and winter the top-selling flavors are: Apple, Pumpkin, Berry Supreme, Pecan, Cran-Apple. During the spring and summer months, however, customers tend to want fruit pies that are perfect for picnics and BBQs: Apple, Blueberry-Peach, Bing Red Cherry, Strawberry-Rhubarb. (We always suggest picking up at least two different flavors ~ it gives family/friends/guests a choice AND it means more pie to enjoy for everyone!) What are the imprints on the top pastry of some pies? Upper Crust Pies are prepared, made, baked and boxed by human hands. Because we have so many varying flavors of pies, our Production crew must have a way to determine which pie is a Berry Supreme and which is a Bing Red Cherry (many of the juices look the same!) Before the top pastry is placed on the pie, and imprint is made to identify the flavor. That’s why you’ll sometimes see two dots, a line, even a star shape! What’s the best way to eat a pie on the go? Christine, the owner of Upper Crust, swears by the use of a credit card when a pie craving hits. Whip one out of your wallet and use it to cut and scoop. This method works particularly well in your car, and for those times when you just can’t wait! What’s the farthest an Upper Crust Pie has ever traveled? A loyal Upper Crust fan recently sent us a letter explaining how she traveled over 10,000 miles with an 8” Berry Supreme Pie in tow! Click here to view her lovely note and a picture of our pie in India. Thank you for your wonderful letter, Terri! Have your own favorite pie story or memory? Tell us about it on our Facebook wall! Your story may be the next one included on our website.
(415) 485-5658 E-mail: Info@ChristinesPies.com
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