Emile Henry vs. Apilco/Pilivuyt/Revol | Stoneware vs. Porcelain
I'm looking to buy some baking/roasting pieces and wondering which route to go. I just got some EH pie plates and a 9" baker both on EXCELLENT sale. (FYI Harry and David outlets have Azur pie plates for $12.99 and SLT had white 9" bakers for $12.49.) I'm looking for some additional pieces - casserole, tart, small/individual baker and wondering if I should continue with EH or look for porcelain.
Great timing for this post because I am currently trying to compare the Pillivuyt/Revol/Emile Henry/Le Creuset lines for a specific item: small individual bakeware either in a round or au gratin shape. NOT as high as a ramekin though, and the kicker is that it must be able to be used in a broiler as well as oven. I have several recipes that specify the pan must be 4" or so from the broiler element for more than just a quick browning for a minute or two.
Pillivuyt, LeCreuset and E.Henry all say their stuff is broiler-safe. I have found conflicting info for Apilco though: some sites claim their au gratin, etc, is broiler safe while others say the same item is only oven/freezer/microwave safe.
I was at a Williams Sonoma outlet yesterday where they had both Pillivuyt (tableware) and Apilco (bakeware). None of the staff were able to tell me for sure whether the Apilco is broiler safe or not; again, conflicting/uncertain info on that aspect of it.
The problem I find is that LeCreuset's "individual" au gratin dish is way too tiny and their larger ones are bigger than I want. I am considering their mini legumier although I don't need anything with a lid. Emile Henry makes a 5" (4.5" interior measurement supposedly) individual pieplate which might work -- I'm hoping the one and only Sur la Table store within driving distance might have them in stock. Unfortunately only the red ones are on sale at Amazon and I want white, LOL.
On another note, I do find it aggravating that apparantly there's no such thing as an individual size broiler-safe dish to be found for less than $20 each. Which seems a bit ridiculous given the size of the thing.
I cannot presume to tell you what to purchase but I can relate my experience. I have owned some Apilco for over 40 years and the pieces are going strong. Some are used daily. When a choice is available, that's what I buy based on my track record. Likely, I own close to 100 pieces of this stuff.
My first piece of Emile Henry called for it to be soaked in milk. I followed directions and ended up returning the piece some months later because I could never get rid of the sour milk smell. Those directions have changed. My latter pieces are great and I use them when I want color on the table (instead of the white Apilco).
As I have already stated, I vote with my feet - Apilco has been better than I could have imagined. It holds up to daily use, cleans well, is stronger than I would have thought and always looks pristine. I'll use 8 individual gratin dishes tomorrow morning for brunch; some of the same gratin dishes that I bought in France, c1963. A baking dish, from the same era, will hold sausages. I prefer the delicacy of porcelain over stoneware, but that is a personal choice.
Thanks, Sherri, I'm in the camp where I'd prefer to buy once over a lifetime if possible! I might just buy a few pieces to check out. I like that it seems like you could build a collection of porcelain across the different lines over a lifetime and have a table that doesn't look like it was set by a committee!
Olympia, something that I forgot to mention which has been very helpful for me is the ability to add to my stash over time. Originally, I could only afford six # 9 gratin dishes. Over the years, I have added until I have 18 today. Ditto for the #7s and the small, individual souffle dishes (#1), etc. This is as close to Open Stock as I have ever seen in kitchenware. Astonishingly, none of the pieces are chipped, cracked, etc. They go through the DW all the time. Yes, there has been breakage but that is usually due to dropping a piece [I have sons]. Apilco is expensive but I think it is less expensive to buy something once than it is to replace it numerous times with less expensive dishes.
Edit: to answer skyline's question about using the broiler -- I do put the Apilco under the broiler. Is it 4" from the element? I have no idea but the food browns nicely. I don't leave the dishes unattended and, to date, no breakage. I can't help you with the price however. They are what they are.