Baking can bring fun to your kitchen evoking times past. You can quickly fill your kitchen with succulent aromas and fill your home’s residents with anticipation. You want the taste to match the smell and anticipation though.
While your recipe contributes largely to the success of your pie or cobbler, your pie or cobbler pan does, too. Pie pans come in a variety of shapes — round, oval, heart, square, rectangular, and theme-shaped. People new to baking often do not realize this. Some individuals unfamiliar with Southern baking have never heard of cobbler and do not know that this square or rectangle pie variation exists.
While you can make a cobbler in a traditional oval pie pan, cobbler typically takes on a square or rectangular shape. This thick pie uses a less flaky, more cake top-like crust. Let’s quickly review the types of cobbler and pie pans and plates, then move on to answer a few frequently asked questions concerning this diverse bakeware category.
The types of pie pans and plates vary by material. Each has its ideal use, and you will need more than one pan or plate to make various types of pie.
Pie Pans and Plate Types by Material
Ceramic Pie Pans
Ceramic pie pans often come decorated with holiday themes such as a turkey motif for Thanksgiving or a Christmas tree for Christmas. Some have a glaze applied that allows you to use them at higher temperatures in the oven. Not all have this and may have a rating of only up to 350F to 375F. Some of these you cannot bake inside; they are only for use in serving. They will crack and shatter if exposed to extreme heat or cold.
A simple, ceramic pie pan with fluted edges can make it easier to form fancy pie crusts since you can simply follow its fluted edges.
Glass Pie Pans
Traditional glass pie pans work well for low-temperature baking and refrigerator pies. This type of pie dish should not typically be used in the freezer since extreme cold can cause the glass to crack. Choose this option for layered pies since you can see through the plate and guests can admire the pie visually, too.
The beautiful layers of this chocolate meringue pie show through the glass pie plate, an ideal choice for cold pies.
Aluminum Pie Pans
Aluminum pie pans provide a hearty cooking surface for baked pies, and you can use them effectively in the fridge and the freezer. The versatile aluminum pie pan lets you prepare any type of pie, but you have to check for additives to its surface to create non-stick cookware. Some additives can affect the taste of the pie. This is not the case with T-Fal, hence its popularity.
Many people think of the disposable pie pans you buy at the grocery store when you mention aluminum pans, but they also come in thicker varieties.
Stainless Steel Pie Pans
The traditional stainless steel also lets you bake in it, or use it in the fridge or freezer. Neither stainless steel nor aluminum provides much decoration to a table, but their versatility as a cooking surface has made them stand the test of time. You can always surround the pan with a cozy to pretty it up for the table.
Stainless steel pie pans offer a hearty cooking surface and often have handles on the sides.
Pyrex Pie Pans
Pyrex pie plates solve the problem of glass cookware that can crack or shatter in high heat. Pyrex does not lose shape or form in heat or cold. You can also see through it, so it makes an ideal choice for those who make visually appealing layered pies and cobblers.
You can show off the visual appeal of layered pies in Pyrex pie pans, too. These work best for high-heat baking.
Copper Pie Pans
Popular with chefs, copper cookware provides a conductive surface that heats evenly, and it looks pretty. This matters when serving Sunday dinners and holiday meals making this an ideal choice for those who entertain often. This type of hearty metal pie pans works well in the oven, fridge, and freezer.
You can set a gorgeous table easily when you cook and bake in copper pans. These copper pie pans work great for Quiche, too.
Cast Iron Pie Pans
That is not a misprint. While you may associate cast iron with frying pans, it also makes superb cobbler pans. These often feature divided sections that bake the cobbler into individual pie-shaped slices.
Cast iron pie pans come in a greater range of sizes conducive to making pies such as this immense apple pie.
Plastic Pie Pans
The plastic pie pans and plates you see in stores and on television were designed for cooking in the microwave and making refrigerator and freezer pies. You cannot bake in the oven using plastic pans. Do not try. Some of these flexible pans use plastic, others use silicone.
Many modern recipes use baking methods involving the microwave. You can bake pies and cakes in the microwave in a fraction of the time required to make them in the oven. Most of this cookware cannot be used in the oven.
Pie Pans and Plate Types by Shape
Shape matters when baking. You will need to play with a recipe intended for a nine-inch oval pie to get it to work for a 14-inch square pan pie/cobbler. Remember this when you do not want to wash the dirty oval, and you think you will just use the cobbler pan. It does not work that way. Many things converge to create a baked good. The ingredients, oven temperature, oven type, the material of the pan, pan shape, etc. all influence your pie.
Oval Pie Plates
Most individuals think of oval pie plates when you say you are making a pie. The traditional shape of pies everywhere, the oval pie pan probably provides the pan for which your typical pie recipe calls. If the recipe does not specify, it probably calls for this type of pie pan.
French cuisine offers pie variations such as the clafoutis, a typical round or oval cobbler type pie held together with a cake batter. Make cherry clafoutis in this oval glass pie pan.
Round Pie Plates
These pie plates may resemble an eight-inch round cake pan, but they differ. Typically, deeper, they come in handy for baking cobblers.
The round shape of these pie pans provides the depth needed for cobblers and quiches, too.
Square Pie Plates
You may as well refer to this as a cobbler pan because it is. These can do double duty for baking brownies or dump cakes. These deeper pans accommodate the added space needed for the bottom and top crusts of a cobbler and the immense amount of fruit pie filling.
A square pie pan more easily accommodates large fruit pieces such as the pear halves used in this cobbler.
Rectangular Pie Plates
You also refer to this rectangular shape as a cobbler pan. These come in large sizes that you can also use for sheet cakes, however, you cannot always purchase a sheet cake pan and use it for cobbler. Cobbler pans provide added depth to accommodate two layers of rising cake-like crust and fruit filling that can bubble over the side of the pan if it has an inappropriate depth. That does not just dirty your oven; it subtracts filling from your recipe, meaning your cobbler won’t have enough fruit in it.
Rectangular pie pans work great for cobblers, deep-dish pies, and you can use them for focaccia bread, such as the cherry tomato, rosemary, garlic creation below.
Theme Shaped Pie Plates
Housewares departments and home decor catalogs come replete with these pie pans and plates just before each holiday season. Their thematic shape can make them a challenge for baking which is why most come with a recipe insert. The manufacturer developed and tested those recipes specifically for that pan.
While you may think that your great-grandmother’s apple pie recipe would look so cool in the Christmas tree-shaped pie pan, it may not (and probably won’t) taste as you expected. You will have changed too many variables. You can safely make the pie recipes included with the snazzy pie pan.
These theme pans usually come in ceramic form and also feature some decorative motifs.
Themed bakeware lets you create shaped bake goods such as this heart-shaped apple pie. These baking forms typically come in the form of a ceramic dish.
Pie Plates and Pans by Size
One size does not fit all when it comes to pie pans and plates. You need variety, and you need to stick to what the recipe says. If you try to use an eight-inch round, for example, when the recipe requires a 10-inch round, you will have a mess in your oven. Too much pie in too little a baking pan.
Typically, you choose from an eight, nine, or 10-inch pie oval or round. With people staying single longer nowadays though, the notion of individual meals popularized. You can now also find mini pie plate designs for baking a personal-sized pie or cobbler. That means you bake, refrigerate, or freeze a single-serving pie. These typically measure four inches in diameter.
Miniature pie pans, such as this set of aluminum deep dish pie plates, let you make single-serving pies. These types of pie tins let you customize each pie by flavor or topping, and it ensures your guests do not overeat.
Choose from eight-inch squares or nine-inch squares. When shopping, these pans sizes are typically expressed as 8″ x8″ or 9″ x9”.
Square pie pans let you easily make pie squares like these blonde apple pie treats. You can easily wrap these for inclusion in boxed lunches.
One standard size of pie pan exists for this cobbler pan, a 9″x13” which you may also use for other dessert recipes such as sheet cakes and large brownie batches. If you work in the hotel or restaurant industry, the difference in sizes between at-home pans and industrial pans can cause a problem. The best thing to do is to use a recipe designed for a 9 × 13 cobbler, so you can safely bake it in a 1/2 or 2/3 pan.
When you need a large cobbler pan, choose an aluminum rectangular pie pan for the best results. These typically have a non-stick coating that makes your cobbler a breeze to extract.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course, many questions come up during the course of shopping for bakeware. The plethora of types of pie pans and plates and cobbler pans only complicates matters. Hopefully, this FAQ answers your questions, but if not, you can email us, so we can address them in an update.
What size pan should you buy?
Without making it seem like an advertisement for bakeware, you should honestly have one of each size. If you bake frequently and want to try various recipes, you need a selection of pans and plates. This saves you from needing to alter recipes to adjust them for a different size pan. You can purchase bakeware sets that include round, square, and rectangle pie pans.
What kind of pies do you bake?
Baking pies consist of traditional apple and cherry, other fruit pies, and some custard pies. These pies can come in a round, oval, square, or rectangular shape. Both pies and cobblers get oven-baked as does clafoutis. You also bake meat pies, such as chicken or beef pot pie.
What kind of pies do you refrigerate?
Pudding pies and some types of custard pies you make in the refrigerator. These pies need to “set.” That means they need to chill to a specific low temperature that remains above freezing to stiffen or harden the pudding or custard filling.
While you mix the pudding or custard at room temperature, the pie must set for a few hours, sometimes overnight, in the fridge before you can serve it. You would set a chocolate pudding pie in the fridge.
What kind of pies do you freeze?
No Mrs. Smith’s jokes. Pies that use ice cream as an ingredient require freezing to set the ingredients. Also called icebox pies, these pies include the famous Mississippi Mud Pie. The layers of ice cream mixed with whipped cream and pudding require freezing temperatures to properly form.
Recipes like Mississippi Mud Pies require freezing temperatures to set. You make them in bakeware that easily handles the extreme cold.
Can you use a tart pan for a pie?
No, you should not try this. The tart pan typically has an inappropriate depth and shape for a baked pie. Tarts are not as thick, and they bubble up less than pies do.
What is considered a deep-dish pie plate?
Two inches of depth provides the minimum for consideration as a deep-dish pie pan. You could use a deep-dish pie pan for making cobbler.
What type of pie plate is best?
There is no one best type of pie plate. It all depends on the pie you want to make. As explained in the definitions, each different material and size of pie plate suits a different type of pie or cobbler. If you have a specialty pie that you bake or make, try each type of pie pan at least once to determine which works best for your recipe.
Moving to a new elevation, for instance, moving from sea level to the mountains, alters your baking time and temperature. You may need to adjust your baking vessel, too.
Are you supposed to grease a pie pan?
Often, the recipe states whether you should grease or butter the pan before baking. Some recipes call for use of the cooking spray. Always use the item the recipe calls for to produce the optimum results.
Can you use a round cake pan for pie?
This may seem tempting in a pinch, but it does not provide the ideal shape or pan thickness. (That, too, affects how your pie or cobbler turns out.)
Can you bake a pie in a Pyrex dish?
Yes! In fact, Pyrex bakeware provides one of the best options for making pies whether baked, refrigerated, or frozen.
The diameter of the pie pan refers to its upper measurement when the pan is oval. The oval pie pans (traditional pans) use an oval shape. The measurement of an eight-inch oval pan refers to the outer, top rim of the pie.
Can you freeze a pie in a Pyrex dish?
You can cook, refrigerate, and freeze pies and cobblers in Pyrex dish wear.
Do you spray a pie plate before putting it in the crust?
If the recipe calls for spraying or greasing the pan before baking, and you are making a from-scratch crust, then yes. You spray the pan, then form the crust over the sprayed area. If you use a pre-formed crust already in a tin pan or aluminum pan, the pan was already treated, and you use it as is.
What is the difference between pies and tarts?
A tart is a small baked good similar in nature to a turnover or popover. About the size of the palm of your hand, it often has a fruit filling, but you can also fill these with pudding or custard, then bake them.
Can you put parchment paper under a pie crust?
You should not do this if you bake the pie. The paper burns in the oven. If you want to use parchment paper between the pie pan or plate and a refrigerated or frozen pie, you can.
This makes it supremely easy to lift the pie out of the dish in which you made it and transfer it as one piece to a serving platter. Use enough parchment paper that you have at least two-inches sticking out of either side. This provides you a sturdy amount of material to hold onto as you carefully lift the pie out of the serving tin.
You could place parchment paper beneath the crust of a refrigerator or freezer pie like this chocolate meringue pie to easily remove it from the pie tin after it sets.
How many slices are in a 9-inch pie?
Just like slicing a pizza, this depends on you. If you want slivers, you cut them into 12 thin slices, but if you want standard size (approximately 2.5 to three-inch-wide slices), you cut them into eight pieces. You can slice it into fourths for behemoth servings that can handle a full scoop of ice cream on top without any falling off.
Some recipes from scratch direct you to do this. You poke holes when the recipe directs you to do so, but not other times. You would not do this with a pre-formed or pre-made pie crust. You would need to create vents in the top crust, too, if you make a covered pie.
How do you remove a whole pie from the pan?
This is an art. You need to do the parchment paper trick to make it easy to remove a fridge or freezer pie. When it comes to a baked pie, no easy method exists.
The squishy center of these pies gets in the way of that. For this reason, many cute ceramic dishes exist that you can bake in saving you from needing to remove them. Some cobbler recipes bake in a way designed to let you extract them in a manner similar to a cake.
The cobbler uses a bottom layer of cake-like crust batter poured onto the pie pan’s bottom. The fruit filling covers this. Another layer of cake-like crust batter gets poured on top of the fruit.
When it bakes, the batter forming the crusts blends with the fruit causing it all to hold together. This cross between a pie and a cake allows you to extract it in an easier way. Not all cobblers use this type of bottom and top, so if the cobbler uses a flaky, pie-type crust, you cannot turn it out onto a baking sheet or serving platter as you could a cake.
You grease the pan before mixing your crust in it, or you spray it with non-stick spray. You can also use non-stick bakeware such as that which uses T-Fal coating.
Which color pan browns crust more quickly?
Choose aluminum or stainless steel to efficiently brown a pie crust. These pan materials provide the most effective manner of producing a light, flaky crust that browns evenly. For the best results, place the aluminum or stainless steel pie pan on the bottom rack of the oven or on a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven.
Do not, however, place a ceramic or glass pie pan on the bottom of the oven on a pizza stone or directly on the metal floor. It can crack and split in the oven.
Why did your Pyrex dish explode?
You probably have a newer piece of Pyrex bakeware that is less hearty. Once made from borosilicate glass, the company switched to the less hearty tempered glass. They began making both types in the late 1950s but replaced the boron-based glass completely in recent years. The tempered glass does not handle temperature changes, as well as the boron-based glass, did.
Do you need a special type of pie pan to make a fluted pie?
You require a pie pan with exterior edges all the way around. This quarter to half-inch edge provides a resting place for the crust edge. You can manually create the fluted edge using your fingers to create the S-shape of the edge, or you can purchase a pie pan with a fluted edge that you press the dough into to form the fluted edge.
Where can you buy pie pans and plates?
From Pampered Chef to Wal-mart, you can pick up pie pans at virtually any store that sells cookware. You can also shop Etsy for bespoke bakeware and eBay to find collector’s pans and plates or rare pieces such as cast iron pieces crafted more than 50 to 10 years ago. Many cities have gourmet grocery stores that also carry this type of cookware.
These gourmet supply stores offer a variety of high-end bakeware and cookware in aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic, glass, Pyrex, and copper. Most major department stores carry a selection of these types of pie pans, too. Foley’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Kohl’s, and other major department stores carry these types of bakeware. You will need to special order some bakeware, such as some themed or shaped dishes.
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