Why You May Want To Bake Your Next Pie In A Metal Pan

If your family celebrates Thanksgiving and if you've done it for long enough, just about everything on the table will have a story: Turkey and appetizer recipes have been used for years, if not a generation or more, traditional boozy drinks that family members might have fought and made up over, and serving dishes and cutlery that will trigger countless memories and conversations.

There will also be the plates that have made countless pies both sweet and savory. Some of the pans may be pressed into service because they are eye candy, even if they are slightly impractical, while others are used time and again, simply because they turn out great pastry each time.

Everyone may have his or her definition for what makes a great pie, but as the King Arthur Baking Company points out, some of the qualities that make a good pie are non-negotiable. It will have a tender and flaky crust. A good pie will be "golden but not burnt" in color. It will also have a filling that is sliceable and neither stiff and inflexible, nor runny. And to do that, baking experts say there is one type of pan that can tick all the boxes.

Why metal pans work

While we might be able to find metal, ceramic, and tempered glass at our favorite cookware store, metal pie plates made with either aluminum or steel are a favorite with testers at The New York Times because they aren't prone to breaking if they sit for an extended period of time in a super hot oven — and they can play an instrumental role in delivering a flaky crust. But metal pans can be incredibly difficult to clean and are prone to warp and scratch, particularly if you use a cheaper type. Cleanups may be made easier if you use a nonstick pan, but as Epicurious found out, metal pans will release pies more easily than most others.

But this doesn't mean you should forgo all others — your grandma's heirloom ceramic plate included — to stock up on metal pie pans. Serena Lissy still recommends ceramic pie pans because they don't scratch easily and look gorgeous on the thanksgiving table, tempered glass pans because they are forgiving (although, per Epicurious, some have been known to shatter so there is a need to be careful), and metal pans for crisp edges and for the times when you need to blind bake your pastry.