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Best type of pie pan for browned crust

I normally bake my pies in a glass Pyrex pie pan (recommended by Cook's Illustrated) but was wondering if I would get better browning on the bottom of my crust (specifically with pumpkin pie) if I used metal. Thoughts? Anyone bake their pie directly on top of a pizza stone?

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  1. My most recent apple pie was gorgeously golden brown on top, but slightly underbaked on the bottom, and I blame my pyrex pie pan. Previous apple pies were on reused Marie Callendar tins so I think metal does enable better browning. Though it could've been the recipe or oven temperature factors.

    But if you're going to prebake/blind bake your crust for your pumpkin pie, this may not be an issue because you can see when your crust is brown enough.

    1. No way would I give up my Pyrex for metal. I aways spray them well with baking spray and I have never had a soggy crust

      1. Pyrex is best for a browned crust. If your top is overbrowning, cover it with foil. A pie is not done until you can see a deep brown bottom.

        1. If your bottom crusts aren't browning sufficiently, you might consider starting your pie on the pizza stone for the first 10 to 15 minutes or so, and then moving it to a higher rack. This should help you with browning. Do not leave your pie plate on the stone for the entire baking time, or you will likely burn your bottom crust. I agree that Pyrex is superior to metal in all ways for pies, including for browned crusts.

          1. If you decide to go the pizza stone route, be sure to preheat the stone for at LEAST an hour. I used to use one that was properly preheated and I found that even that blocked good heat. It inhibited the bottom from browning. I just like to use a high heat in the beginning (450 degrees), then drop it about 30 minutes in.

            1. Two things on this:
              1. Gourmet magazine says that Chicago Metallic perforated metal pie pans get the best browning. They are cheap (5.95). I'd like to buy as set but my local shop was out.
              2. I recently baked a pie in my Emile Henri pie plate on the baking stone the entire time and the crust was perfectly cooked-- not even close to burned. As Becca says, you MUST preheat-- I can get away with 45 min. with my oven for whatever reason.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Procrastibaker

                The Emile Henri Henri plates are ceramic; they are thicker and stronger than tempered glass (Pyrex), so they can withstand the heat of the stone for the for the full baking baking time without burning, while Pyrex cannot.

                I have not used the perforated (or mesh-bottom) pie tie tins, but it makes sense that they would provide good prowning. Like Pyrex, they also allow you to see that your crust is properly browned.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I personally have never had my bottom crust burn in my pyrex pan , when using a preheated stone. I have had quite a few not brown enough.

                2. re: Procrastibaker

                  As long as I can remember, my mother has used nothing but Pyrex pie plates. On Thanksgiving (the first I had spent at her house in a dozen years), she was lamenting not being able to find her perforated metal pie pans, which she agrees do a wonderful job of browning the bottom crust.

                3. The best pie pans were the those with mesh bottoms developed for Aunt Chick back in the mid-century period. The closest you can get to those are perforated pans.

                  Otherwise, Pyrex is the best of the commonly available options, and you need to cover the top crust if it is in danger of getting overdone.

                  1. Hmm I guess I'll believe y'all and keep baking in my pyrex pie pan. My problem is, my pyrex is cranberry color (it was part of a gift set; I'd never chose looks over function). So it's hard to see the change in color. I do use a ring cover to cover the pie crust edges, that helps a lot.

                    1. The clear glass ones are like $3.95 at Walmart. Pick one up.

                      1. I generally use pyrex, as it's what I bought long ago, but on occasion I've used a very old (well seasoned) cast iron Dutch oven (and even a CI frying pan) & the crust was remarkable.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bbc

                          Did you heat the cast iron dutch over or frying pan before putting the crust into it? (like preheating a baking stone)? I know this sounds ridiculous to some, but a cast iron dutch oven can act like a giant heat battery in the way that a stone can, so I wanted to ask before I waste a pie goofing around. I think the towering walls of a dutch oven might hold the pie filling in when it tries to boil over (as in Grandma Ople's famous recipe). It's a shame I can't find any other references to using cast iron pots and pans as pie pans for a normal pie recipe. Most references to pie regarding cast iron are specially designed recipes that are vastly different than a typical pie in the way they are put together (order of ingredients and layers are often reversed). It would be nice to get someone saying they baked a typical apple pie recipe with cast iron as the pan and no preheating, and that it turned out great.

                          1. re: keyosuke

                            Holy resurrection, Batman! That's an old thread to bring back up :-)

                            If you make an apple pie in a cast-iron frying pan, it's helpful to heat the pan up on a burner before putting it in the oven. That is, use the pan as a pie plate, assemble your pie, "fry" your pie for two minutes or so, then put it in the oven.

                            I discovered this trick when I moved to Poland, where it's impossible to find a typical american style 9 inch pie pan. I used a cast iron frying pan because it was the right size and shape, and my first attempt at an apple pie came out with a soggy unbrowned bottom crust., so I tried preheating it on the stovetop before putting it in the oven and it was better.

                            1. re: keyosuke

                              (it's a little random that i haven't checked chowhound in years but found this!)

                              i did this at my parents house b/c they too only had teeny pie pans & we were making several. i don't remember exactly what we did, but when i make crusts for quiches & other things sometimes i prebake the bottom crust a little bit while i'm making the stuff to go inside, so that warms up both the pan and partially bakes the bottom crust. (and melts cheese for quiches).

                              i do dream about that crust though. might have to try again. :)

                          2. If you use tin, make sure it is not shiny as the shiny ones reflect the heat.

                            1. Take the pie out when the bottom is done not the crust. Pyrex makes it easier to see how you're doing. If top is over done then calibrate your oven.

                              1. Just being nostagic: remember brown Pyrex: It browned pie bottoms beyond black.

                                1. I have been using Pyrex pie plates for years with flawless results. The bottom crust is browned, not burned. I have never used a pizza stone with the Pyrex pie plate.

                                  1. Hate to throw some engineering water on this but after 45 mins (actually about 15) everything in the oven is pretty close to the same temperature except the core of the pie (no pun).

                                    Glass (pyrex) is recommended not because as a material it promotes browning BUT because you can see thru it to tell if adequate browning has taken place. Also, one technique to get a nicely browned crust is to prebake the crust.

                                    Finally, if your oven is properly calibrated so you are working at the temperature you THINK you are most of your baking results will be far better.

                                    Good luck.