Picture Perfect Pies

With fall weather here, and Thanksgiving fast approaching, we can't stop thinking about baking big beautiful pies! But after you decide between apple, pumpkin, or pecan; you also have to decide which pie dish to use.

There are three different materials commonly used to make pie dishes, but what's the difference between them, and how will they affect your pies? All three can make a damn fine pie, but is one better than the rest? As with most things in life, there are pros and cons.

Metal: Most metal pie plates are made of aluminum, and they're usually coated with a some form of non-stick. Generally, a lighter colored coating will produce better results without over-browning your crusts. 

  • PROS: Aluminum conducts heat well, so these pie dishes heat and cool very quickly, making them ideal for pies that require blind-baking or par-baking.
  • CONS: Aluminum pie dishes, especially non-stick ones, can scratch easily, so you should avoid using a knife or pie slicer to cut in the dish.

Glass: Glass dishes are the most popular choice. They tend to perform well and they're usually inexpensive and readily available.

  • PROS: Since glass tends to heat slowly and steadily, pies tend to bake and brown evenly, ideal for perfect pies! Also, since glass is clear, you can see the browning through the pan.
  • CONS: Since glass heats more slowly, blind baked crusts have a tendency to “slip” and shrink before the dough has a chance to set and brown.

Ceramic: Ceramic plates perform similarly to glass dishes, but they're often the more attractive option for serving. 

  • PROS: Many ceramic pie dishes are freezer-to-oven safe, which is a huge advantage when you want to put pies together before you're ready to bake.
  • CONS: Since ceramic plates often have thick rims, decorative crusts can over-brown before the pie is finished. They may also be a bit larger than glass or metal dishes, which can make for a great pie, but your recipe may need to be adjusted. Ceramic pie dishes also tend to be the more expensive option. 

The right pie dish for you is probably a matter of personal preference, but in general, we usually recommend glass or ceramic, unless your pie crusts require blind baking, in which case, metal is probably a better way to go. Whichever dish you choose, don't forget the whipped cream! 

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