Cook’s Country rates pie plates

My pyrex pie plateThere 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.

9 comments

  1. It’s always good to gauge yourself every once in a while as to how easy you are to market to. Williams-Sonoma gets me every time. I bought a set of those pie pans with holes in the bottom thinking that it made sense that they would cook the crust more thoroughly. No wonder I haven’t seen a real difference since I’ve been using them. Oh well, that’s what I get for ignoring Alton Brown’s advice about uni-taskers…

  2. How many times are they going to test pie plates?! Between Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country this is about the third time they came to the same results: Pyrex is the best.

  3. Plus you can use the Pyrex in the microwave, etc. and make a lot more in it than just pies, especially if you have a lid that fits it. I microwave salmon in mine! ;^)

  4. I am hooked on Emile Henry pie plates. Ever since I bought one I will never use any other. They come in various sizes.

  5. I’m with Jerzee. I’ve used Pyrex pie plates in the past, but since I got my Emile Henry, I’ll never go back. Not only does it bake things perfectly, but it’s rather beautiful to look at. I only wish that they weren’t in the neighborhood of $40 apiece so I could get another one!

    I’m probably going to sound like a snot for saying this, but I’m not nearly as impressed with CC and CI as I used to be (and I used to be a CI subscriber!). It isn’t just that they continually retest equipment (or one mag will test something, and then the other one will test the same thing), but also I find plenty lacking with their procedures and taste tests of various ingredients. I occasionally buy an issue when there’s a topic or recipe I’m interested in, but I never cook directly from one of their recipes without giving it a thorough read-through first. I’ve been disappointed a few too many times I guess.

  6. They test the plates too much.. But i love this site.. :)

  7. Very nice and thorough review.. Thanks for making us coming to a choice..

  8. Maybe they just love to bake pies.

  9. I make a red clay pie plate. The unglazed surface yields an evenly-browned bottom crust that releases easily from the plate.

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