Food Safety Issues/Safety pudding pies


Our group has a pie baking sale with coconut cream, chocolate cream & lemon meringue for sale.
Our pedicessors would make the filling the day before and leave out in room overnight to cool with air condition on.
Question is it still safe to do that? The pies have egg yolks and evaporated milk as part of the custard. Custard pies may be bought in grocery stores and have use by dates. They would only be out overnight then meringue placed on them to complete. Thank you for your help in this issue.

Hi Rhonda,

All creamed pies made with eggs and milk must be refrigerated upon completion and cooled to 41 degres F within 6 hours.  In addition, cream pies should be served at 41 degrees F or below.  They should not be left at room temperature overnight to cool as this is risky and could promotoe the growth of harmful bacteria.

Pies that you see in the store that have "best if used by" dates may have ingredients added to them that change either the water activity or pH which decreases the likelyhood that harmful bacteria will grow.  We do not have a way, currently, to modify cream pies at home to make them safer at room temperature or for long-term storage. Therefore the recommendation is to promptly refrigerate the pies after preparation, place the meringue on the cold pies the next day, and then refrigerate and serve them cold.

While your predicessors may have prepared the pies without refrigeration, this is a risky procedure that could one day make people ill.  In this litigious society, you can't take a chance with this potentially hazardous food as you would be clearly in the wrong and liable for any harmful consequences from the mishandling and temperature abuse of the product.

Best wishes for a successful bake sale.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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