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Making Sense of Pie Pan Sizes

Can you identify the most common pie pan called for in recipes in the above picture?

I had a chat recently with Kate McDermott, author of the highly celebrated and best-selling cookbook, “Art of the Pie,” about the bewildering variation in pie pans or pie plates. Kate said “Why don’t you write a blog about it?” So I did. And here it is.

What you see in the photo is all the 9 pie plates I own, accumulated over decades of baking. They range in size from 8 inches to 10 inches in diameter–that’s the measurement across the opening at the top of the pie plate. By far, the most commonly called for pie plate is the 9-inch size, preferably made of ovenproof glass (Pyrex© brand usually). Can you spot it? It’s in the upper right corner, perched atop two other glass plates. It has a nice broad rim to support the edge of a fluted pie crust. The opening of this pan, however, is only 8 3/4 inches across its open top diameter and the height of the pan is 1 1/2 inches. The only pan in my collection with a true 9-inch opening is the one in the lower right of the photo, an aluminum pan made by Mirro©. It’s also 1 1/2 inches high.

In the bottom left sits a 9 1/2 inch deep-dish rimless pie plate and to its right is an actual 10-inch pie plate with a 10-inch opening. Resting on top of the rimless deep-dish pie plate is its sister, a 9 1/2 inch rimmed deep-dish plate. So which would you use if a recipe called for a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan? It’s a roll of the dice, and it shouldn’t be. You’ll have to base your choice on the quantity of the pie filling and if the recipe said to make a fluted edge. No rim to the pan, then no fluted edge. A high fluted edge can often compensate for an undersized pie plate.

My advice? For “regular” pies, use the 9-inch Pyrex© pan. I much prefer glass to metal because I can see the color of the crust while the pie bakes and adjust my baking time accordingly. Deep-dish pie plates are needed less often, but if a 9-inch one is specified, the pan size is 9 1/2 inches. Rimmed or rimless will depend on the recipe.

Why do  I have a glass 10-inch pie plate? I bought it many years ago to bake a crème brûlée recipe that said to use an 11-inch pie plate! Go figure.

Happy Baking!

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