How did Pepperidge Farm do this?

We bought one of their microwavable Flaky Crust Turkey pot pies. When I started to nuke it, to my surprise, the instructions were to remove it from the carton and cook for 11 to 12 minutes. There was NOT one of those cartons with the gray/silver film across the top. Damn. I didn’t want to wait 2 hours, including preheat time, so I popped it in. Lo and behold, the crust cooked to a beautiful light golden brown. In fact, the instructions warned against the crust browning prematurely in a conventional oven and instructed you to cover it with aluminum foil if that happened, and continue cooking.

How did they do this? Was there some ingredient in the crust that helped it brown in the microwave? Or is it a myth that microwaves won’t brown breads and meats? If so, why do other people use the gray/silver lining?

Hmm…if there’s a high sugar content in the crust, then it could caramelize in the microwave. I’d guess a sugar glaze could do the same thing; possibly even a milk glaze would work.


Good ideas, Daniel. It wasn’t sweet, so maybe it was milk. I think I’ll test that with a pie crust.

Wasn’t the crust kinda brown before you nuked it? This has been the case with some snacks I’ve heated up in the microwave. I assumed that the nuking simply dried the crust somewhat, letting the brown color show.

No, it wasn’t the least bit brown. It was creamy white like any ordinary pie crust.

Well then, the answer is simple. It must be magic. :wink:
You do know that the ‘farm’ is actually a coven.

[old new england accent]

Pepperidge Farm (insert evil cackle) REMEMBERS!!!

[/old new england accent]

Libertarian please list the ingredients, maybe that will clue us in.

It is an interesting question. Most foods brown at a pretty high temperature, including sugars.

Fully carmelized sugar is jet-black and not in any way sweet. It’s coloring factor is such that it doesn’t take very much to get a pretty golden-brown … Fast-food french fries are generally sprayed with a bit of sugar water at the factory before being frozen & shipped to the franchises. The sugar carmelizes in the cooking oil and gives the fries that pretty golden-brown color that everyone finds so appetizing. Er, most everyone, anyway. You won’t notice any sweetness to those fries either, even if you manage to keep the teenagers behind the counter to refrain from dumping entire boxes of salt on them. The amount of sugar is very small, and it’s carmelized beyond the point of having a sweet taste anyway.

in all seriousness, esp. mangeorge, i believe that the crust is pre-carmelized. microwaved fish sticks are a lot browner than frozen fishsticks. i see no reason that a pre-carmelized pot pie lid would not appear whiter when frozen.

so they make this bottom pie crust and stuff it into a dish, fill it with filling, lay a top on top, and flash freeze it. i see the next process being a quick broil, to brown the top (which will not be browned by the sides of the dish). flash frozen again.

(or maybe flash frozen only once, after the top crust is popped on. then flash frozen after the top is browned).