If You Want Crispy Pie Crust, Bake It In An Aluminum Pan

What sets a good pie apart from a great pie? Some would say a rich, fruity filling or an elegant lattice design. But one of the true defining characteristics of a premier pie is a crispy, buttery crust that sports a golden brown hue from rim to bottom and a texture to die for. To get that look and feel, you'll need to select the right pan for the job. 

For pie plates, you often have three materials to choose from: ceramic, glass, and metal. Ceramic is a classic option, promising even heat distribution and a pretty display dish. Glass offers the baker an opportunity to view the color of the bottom crust as it bakes, giving you more control. But reigning supreme for creating a perfectly flaky crust is the metal pie pan. Aluminum or aluminum-steel alloys work best, providing fast high-heat to your dough; this speedy heat delivery is the secret to a very crisp crust, quickly evaporating moisture to make a pastry that has that golden, brittle look and feel.      

The proper pan for the job

So what should you be looking for in a metal pie pan? First, consider grabbing a light-colored metal pan. The darker the hue, the more at risk you are of burning your crust, so try to go silver or light gold instead of gunmetal grey or cast-iron black. Second, look for a pie pan that has a mix of metals. You want aluminum to be present because it's known to conduct heat very well, but you'll also want a stronger metal, like steel, in the mix so that your pan will be more durable and sturdy. Plain aluminum pans will work well, but they might not have as much longevity as a blended pie pan. Search for a nonstick coating as well, so that you don't have any issues transferring pie slices cleanly from pan to plate. 

Keep in mind that the size and decorated detailing of the pie pan won't affect how your pie bakes. Deep dish pies will take longer to get that golden crust because there's more filling and crust to bake, but that bake time won't be determined by what kind of pan you use. So the next time you want to make a pie with the crispiest crust possible, reach for a proper metal pie pan and enjoy the tasty, flaky results!