Pie Pans for the Perfect Bake

Pie Pans for the Perfect Bake

There’s something about a good pie. It’s a combination of the filling, the pastry, and the presentation. All are important, however, we tend to focus on the filling and the pastry before we consider the pie pan itself. And the pie pan material makes all the difference.

Chances are you have one of two types of pie pan in your cupboard. The tried and true glass version, a great choice as you can monitor the crust for browning, or the metal pans, indestructible and so reliable. Both actually belong in your kitchen as they bake differently. That makes a big difference in  your final pie presentation.

First, the glass pie plate. Glass heats evenly and slowly which means a longer baking time may be needed. That is perfect for a filling that takes time to bake as well. Glass pans are relatively inexpensive and are made of heat resistant glass. Be careful taking a cold pan from the fridge or freezer, and popping it into the hot oven. It can’t usually take the extreme temperature difference and will crack. The same thing will happen if you place a hot glass pie pan on a wet surface or dish towel. The cold of the water has an immediate impact on the glass and  it will crack, sometimes violently. And of course, glass can break or chip just with everyday use.

So, metal pie pans are obviously not going to shatter or crack. Metal pie pans are quick to heat, giving you the best option for blind baking (without a filling, just with ceramic pie beads or weights to stop the crust from puffing up). The crust has a better chance of turning out flaky, picture-perfect. Metal pans can easily and safely go from freezer or fridge to the hot oven. Use a Bakeware Buddy knife to cut so you don’t mar the finish or etch the pan. A metal pan is usually a bit more expensive than glass. 

Then we have stoneware and ceramic pans for pies. These are usually the pretty pans, decorated or fancy edges, and we like to serve directly from these pans as the presentation is part of the appeal. Baking a pie in a stoneware or ceramic pan is similar to using glass but is even slower to heat up. This is perfect for a double crust pie, when it is important for the filling to fully cook while the crust bakes. Using a ceramic or stoneware pan in the bottom third of the oven can help speed the baking time up a bit. 

There are lots of great pie dishes out there, Good Grips does a glass version that includes a vented plastic cover. Meyer has a wonderful deep dish metal pan. Anchor Hocking has a classic glass option and BIA has a stoneware pan with a decorative edge. Most pie pans are 9” or so. There are smaller 4”, 5” and 6” pans for individual servings or for meat pies. 

My favourite pie is lemon meringue, from scratch, and now I know why the crust doesn’t work out quite as well using a glass pan! Time to add a metal pan to my baking cupboard. 

Did you know? Pies started as hand-held pastry pockets, filled with savory meats or seafood, a Greek invention.


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