Baking Pies in Disposable Pie Plates

If one must bake a pie in a disposable pan, are there any tips to ensure success?

We prefer baking pies in Pyrex plates because the glass evenly distributes heat (for great browning) while providing a clear view (so we can easily judge when the crust is done). We place our glass pie plates on a preheated baking sheet for an extra crisp, golden bottom crust that doesn’t get soggy when filled.

Initially, we assumed that disposable aluminum pie plates would absorb and conduct heat too quickly, leading to burnt crusts, so we omitted the baking sheet. But after blind-baking a few pie shells in them, we found just the opposite to be true—the bottoms were still pale and damp long after the fluted edges had crisped and browned. Placing them on a preheated baking sheet helped, but the sides were still undercooked and tended to slump after we removed the pie weights to let the insides of the shells brown.

It turns out that due to their thin walls, aluminum plates can’t hold or transfer a significant amount of heat from the oven to the crust. The upshot is that crusts bake more slowly in aluminum, so they need to spend more time in the oven. For prebaking empty crusts, you’ll need to increase the time that the crust bakes with weights by up to 10 minutes or until you see any visual doneness cues indicated by the recipe. For filled double-crust pies, increase the baking time by up to 10 minutes and cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil if it starts to get too dark. Place aluminum pie plates on a preheated baking sheet for a well-browned bottom crust and for added stability when moving pies out of the oven.

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