• 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.
(Images: Williams Sonoma)