There is more to producing a perfect pie than good recipes for crust and filling. The pie plate itself is actually crucial to success of a pie. Some brown better than others, others promise to produce a crisper crust. The ideal pie plate will cook a crust evenly and produce a good crispness – or, at least, not leave the pie crust a soggy stick-to-the-pan mess. In the latest (April/May 2009) issue of Cook’s Country, the test kitchen rated a number of pie pans to try and find the best performers. They tested blind-baked pie crusts, quiche and apple pies, and also rated the plates on design.
The top performing plate was a standard 9-inch pyrex pie plate, which you can find at just about any store for less than 5 or 6 bucks. It turned out crisp crusts and browned the crusts well, with the added bonus that it was easy to monitor the crust and check its progress. The plate received top marks in every category.
The runner up was the Perfect Pie Plate designed by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which is made of glazed ceramic (stoneware). This type of plate is made by many different manufactures, and tends to be more expensive than pyrex pans. They also tend to be a bit prettier, so they can make for a better presentation. The plate performed well and produced a perfect filling, but the outer edges of the crust browned a bit too quickly for the testers’ tastes.
Further down the list were the Pyrex advantage pie plate with scalloped edges, a Corningware glass laminate pie plate, and a Doughmakers Pie Pan with Crust Protector. All were “Recommended with reservations” and the only one that came close to the score for the top two pans was the scalloped edge Pyrex, which the testers didn’t like only because the “press-in fluting actually made pies look messy,” even though it baked the pies perfectly. Pie plates with perforated bases meant to produce crisper crusts failed miserably, and made crusts that were soggy and let fillings leak out. They were not recommended on any counts.