Which pie pan is best?
With its signature flaky crust and delicious filling, either savory or sweet, pie is a universally delightful creation. To create the perfect combination of filling and luscious pastry casing, you’ll need a great recipe and the best pie pan. The best pie pans combine both form and function to produce pie perfection every time.
The Emile Henry Pie Dish is a beautiful pan with a classic design. It’s as at home on the table as it is in the oven.
What to know before you buy a pie pan
Pie pans are available in three common materials: tempered glass, ceramic and metal.
- Tempered glass: This is the most common and iconic material for a pie plate. Tempered glass resists breaking and creates even browning. They are durable and affordable too.
- Ceramic: Ceramic is another classic material, but it does not conduct heat as evenly and may result in a soggy bottom. Because they are opaque, it’s also difficult to tell when your pie crust is done. If you choose to use ceramic, look for thinner versions for better heat transfer.
- Metal: Metal pie plates are lightweight and affordable. The exception to this is cast iron. Metal’s quick browning action may lead to a tough and overbaked crust. These are not a good option for custard-based pies that require long cooking times.
The size you select is determined mainly by the recipe you are using and the number of people you are feeding. Most pie plates are 8 to 9 inches in diameter, but you may find options as large as 12 inches. Keep in mind that a recipe designed for a 9-inch pie crust results in an underfilled pie when baked in anything larger.
What to look for in a quality pie pan
Wide fluted edge
A wide fluted edge helps you create a decorative edge on your crust. It also acts as a guide if you aren’t quite sure how to finish the edges of your pie.
Ceramic pie plates are often available in different colors. This lets you match your pie plate to your personal style.
Safe at high temperatures
Your pie pan should be safe up to at least 400 degrees. If you like to finish a crispy crust under a broiler, check to make sure that the pan you select can handle that heat.
Most pie pans can be rinsed out and tossed in the dishwasher. If this type of easy cleanup is important to you, stay away from cast iron pie plates or those that must be hand-washed.
How much you can expect to spend on a pie pan
Depending on the materials, expect to spend $5-$40. The most decorative and heavy-duty pans are on the higher end of the price range.
Pie pan FAQ
Can you use a pie pan for other dishes?
A. By its definition, pie is a baked dish of some kind of filling surrounded by one or two flaky pastry crusts. A pie pan can be used for baking without a crust, but the best use is the one for which it is designed.
Is there a trick to flaky pie crust?
A. Yes. Making a flaky pie crust is challenging for many home cooks, but there are a few tips to help produce the perfect pastry.
- Use cold ingredients: Everything from the butter to the water should be ice-cold.
- Work the dough as little as possible: The more you knead and mix your pie dough, the more the gluten develops. Overdeveloped gluten results in a tough pie crust that will not flake.
- Chill before rolling: Once you have cut in the butter and added your cold water to create the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill to let the gluten relax before rolling.
- Use a combination of butter and shortening: Some bakers swear by an all-butter crust, but others have better results with a combination of butter and shortening. Even if the butter melts or is completely incorporated, the shortening stays somewhat separate and helps the crust flake.
- Add a shot of vodka: Substituting some of the cold water with an icy shot of vodka helps prevent the development of gluten in the pie crust. The alcohol content evaporates during baking.
What’s the best pie pan to buy?
Top pie pan
What you need to know: This beautiful, deep-dish bakeware is excellent for both baking and serving.
What you’ll love: It’s a durable ceramic dish that is oven-safe at high temperatures. The coated sides resist scratching. Deep sides with the perfect angle make a picture-perfect slice of pie. It is available in five colors and feels substantial.
What you should consider: It may not heat as evenly as glass pie plates, and because it’s opaque, you cannot see when the crust is done.
Top pie pan for the money
What you need to know: For pie on the go, this lidded plate is the best option.
What you’ll love: It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. The BPA-free lid snaps tight to prevent spills, and it’s vented, so condensation won’t ruin your crisp crust. The glass stands up to quick temperature changes without breaking. Additionally, it’s dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: The vents on the lid might also allow insects in while picnicking.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This classic glass set is a great option when you need to make two pies at once.
What you’ll love: Pyrex makes sturdy bakeware designed to last a generation or more. The wide scalloped edge lets you create a beautiful decorative crust. It’s 9.25 inches, resulting in a slightly larger pie. It’s safe in the freezer and the microwave.
What you should consider: The slightly larger size means that recipes designed for a standard 9-inch pie plate may feel underfilled.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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