Baker's Tip: Choosing the Right Pie Dish

When you think of the perfect pie, chances are you don't think about a soggy crust. And I'm willing to bet you don't dream about burnt edges either. The dish you bake your pie in is a very real factor in the outcome of the perfect pie. Let's talk about which one you should reach for next time you're rolling out a batch of dough. In truth, there are many great pie pans out there. From glass to ceramic, your favorite go-to pan might be a fabulous choice regardless of whether you are blind-baking your pie shell or crafting a double-crust or latticed pie. I find simplicity rules when it comes to pie. Many of the newer dishes with large flutes or crust covers bring their own host of problems (namely, burnt fluted edges and odd cumbersome parts to keep track of). Here are a few factors to consider when thinking about a pie dish for your next pie:

Baker's Tips:
Size matters: I much prefer baking with an 8-9" pan and won't use anything larger. Some of the newer pie dishes range from 9 1/2"-10" and I find these produce deep, sloppy pies.
Pre-baking: While I don't love working solely with aluminum pans, they are a great heat conductor and also cool off quickly, making them a good candidate if you're pre-baking or blind-baking your crusts.
Dispose of Disposable Aluminum: Unless you're working in a commercial setting or you're bringing a pie to a neighbor, you can do better than the flimsy disposable aluminum pie pans. They interfere with the even temperature of the pie crust and produce a pie that could be much better if it were baked in a different dish.
Glass rules: Glass takes its time to heat and heats evenly which makes it a perfect candidate for virtually any pie you're making.

A Few of My Favorites:
Ceramic Pie Dish: I love my Emile Henry ceramic pie dish because it always produces beautiful pies and it can go straight from the freezer to the oven, which is handy because I often freeze my fruit pies before baking them.
Pyrex: Glass heats slowly and allows heat to build gradually and spread evenly, so my Pyrex tends to be my go-to plate. Bottom-crusts on fruit pies come out crisp and custards cook evenly. I like the 9" standard pie dish rather than the updated 9 1/2" scalloped plate with handles, which I find too deep and difficult to cook a fruit pie without getting sloppy.
Sturdy Aluminum: I love Chicago bakeware, and their basic pie pan is useful for blind-baking crusts. I also use it often when I'm doing a simple graham cracker or cookie crust.

Related: 5 Tips to Avoid Soggy Summer Fruit Pies

(Images: Williams Sonoma)

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