Use the Right Pie Plate for the Best Results
Pies are all baked and presented in pie plates, which are typically round with sloping sides, but the actual dimensions are a very important detail to which you must pay attention. It is typical to come across pie plates that measure 9 to 9 ½-inches across and they can vary in depth, often 1 ¼-inches to 1 ½-inches. These seemingly small variations make a huge difference in the final dish. If the recipe is developed for a 9 x 1 ¼-inch pie plate and is made in a 9 1/2 x 1 ½-inch dish, the pie will be too thin and scant and look quite meager. Conversely, if you try to make a recipe made initially developed for the larger dimension in the smaller plate, you will most likely get overflow – and a mess. I use Pyrex pie plates as I find they give the most reliable results in terms of browning the crust evenly. I use two sizes: the larger deep-dish 9 ½ x 1 ½-inches (in the rear of top image) and the smaller 9 x1 ¼-inch size (in the front of top image). Our Bakepedia recipes will clearly tell you in the beginning of the recipe which size pie plate to use and I strongly suggest that you make sure you have the right size. It can make the difference between the pie working flawlessly – and not at all. I am not partial to 10-inch pie plates as I find the edges of these pies overbake by the time the centers are done.
Tarts are made in tart pans, either fluted-edge, loose-bottomed (seen below) or simple rings (seen above), and again, precise dimensions are important. When I call for a 10-inch tart pan I have measured it across the bottom. This is important to note because most fluted edge, loose-bottom pans flare out towards to the top and if measured there, would indicate a different diameter.
Many imported tart pans do not come is exact inches, as they are metric, so do measure your pans to make sure you have the correct size. Tart rings are exactly what they sound like; they are straight-sided rings, without a bottom of any sort. They must be placed on a pan, such as a jellyroll pan, in order to be used. Coat rings and tart pans well with nonstick spray unless otherwise noted. Take care when forming tart dough in a ring; the ring will be lifted up and off of the tart, so no dough can overhang the top of the ring. The fluted edge, loose-bottomed tart pans that I use are 1-inch high; the rings are 7/8-inch high.
Images: Dédé Wilson