One key to baking a great pie is having a quality pie pan. Whether you use glass or a sturdy metal pan, you need a pan that conducts heat well, and will hold up to any weighty filling you use. Of course there are times when using an aluminum pie pan is necessary. Like if you are taking a treat to an office holiday party, you might not want to leave your nicest baking pans behind. In these cases using a disposable aluminum pie pan is a substitute that can work just as well.
Preheat your oven to the desired temperature. Some recipes call for 350 degrees F., while others a little higher depending on the type of pie. Place an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven as you are preheating. Since aluminum pie pans don't conduct heat as well as other types of pans, a warmed cookie sheet will heat up the pie pan faster, as well as catch any filling that may drip over the edges.
Place the pie crust in the aluminum pie pan, then add the pie filling of your choice.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place the pie pan on the cookie sheet. Aluminum pie pans are not as sturdy as other more durable pie pans. Placing the pans on a cookie sheet before putting them in the oven will help keep the filling in place, and the crust from breaking. Make sure the pie pan is centered on the cookie sheet to help distribute the heat evenly, as well as to make sure any drippings are caught by the sheet. If you have more than one pie, use a larger cookie sheet and do the best you can to center both pans.
Place the cookie sheet and the pie pan in the oven. Center the cookie sheet in the oven for even heat distribution.
Remove the cookie sheet and pie pan together when it's fully cooked. Let the pie cool on the cookie sheet. The aluminum pie pan may still buckle if not handled with care. Taking this precaution will keep your pie in one piece.
Because aluminum is not as good at conducting heat as other pie pans, an alternative to make sure your pie bakes evenly is to preheat the pie crust for a few minutes before adding the pie filling. Just make sure to not fully cook the pie crust.
If you are travelling, place the pie pan in a sturdy travel container for a safe journey.
Even though aluminum pie pans are a good alternative to more sturdy baking pans, they are a bit more fragile. Always hold aluminum pie pans with your hand centered on the bottom.
Tim Burris has over seven years experience writing and editing formal sales proposals and marketing materials. Tim has also worked as a freelance journalist for two news organizations. His cover story in "NUVO Newsweekly," Financial Disclosure, May 5, 2004, won an award from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in business, finance from Indiana University.