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Hints From Heloise: Pie baker finds a sticky situation using frozen crusts

DEAR HELOISE: I often purchase frozen pie shells to bake pies, and I have difficulty removing slices from the pan after they are baked; the pie crust is always stuck. Do you have any suggestions for how to make this easy?

Carole Owings, Wildwood, Fla.

DEAR CAROL: That’s just a plain … well … pain. Try switching brands to see if a different one does not stick – it may be that simple. Or it may be the type of pie you are baking. If you prebake the pie crust, poke holes in it, bake, then add the filling.

However, if you are baking a pie with filling (pecan, pumpkin or my fave … blue- or blackberry), do not poke the shell with a fork. Doing so lets sticky liquid seep through and causes the crust to stick. Do let the pie (and crust) cool before cutting.

Last resort? Remove the frozen crust, grease the pan, put the crust back in and proceed.

DEAR HELOISE: Every year around the holidays, I buy a bottle of cocktail sauce. I use only a small amount. It sits in the refrigerator for several months, then I toss it out. Is there any other use for it? I checked the label, and it only lists shrimp. Should I just buy more shrimp?

Dan in McDonald, Ohio

DEAR DAN: Don’t toss the sauce or buy more shrimp. This sauce is basically “spicy ketchup,” so get adventurous. Put it on burgers, hot dogs and fries. It works with crab, too.

It makes a zingy “dip” when poured over cream cheese. I run a fork through the slab of soft cream cheese to score it, then pour on the sauce. Set out with crackers, and ta-da … quick-and-easy eating.

DEAR HELOISE: I purchased a 12-cup coffeemaker. It’s the same model as my previous one. The paper coffee filters almost always collapse, and grounds end up in the coffee. Any help would be appreciated.

Bonnie, via email

DEAR BONNIE: I have tasted coffee grounds in fresh-brewed coffee. Yes, the same filters (do be sure they are the “old” filters) should work. You can wet the filter to make it stick – this should help. Or try a permanent filter that you wash out.

DEAR HELOISE: I buy honey at a big-box store. After a while, it crystallizes, and I would heat it in a pot of water to thin it out.

I solved my problem by putting it into small jars. If it starts to crystallize, I put it on the top rack of the dishwasher. When the cycle is finished, the honey is back to the way it was before. It works perfectly. Just be sure the lid is on tight.

Shirley L. in Florida

DEAR HELOISE: I have a 4-year-old son who is learning to dress himself. He didn’t like having his clothes hanging in the closet because he couldn’t reach them himself. We moved his clothes into a small dresser and his shoes into a bin on the floor. He can dress himself and help me by putting things away.

Hanna N. in Alabama

Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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