Celebrate Pi Day with Perfect Pies

Our team has tested every tool you could possibly need to make your pies look beautiful and taste delicious.

In the test kitchen, we like to think of Pi Day (March 14th) as Pie Day. (Though if you ask me, I think every day should be Pie Day.) After all, pies aren’t just for more conventional holidays, especially when you have the right equipment to make baking them easy. From the best pie plates to our winning measuring cups, this week’s guide has all the tools any pie lover needs in their kitchen. Another must-have is The Perfect Pie. This definitive guide includes over 180 foolproof recipes including our favorite all-butter pie crust and more ambitious projects such as lattice pies. Its recipes, techniques, tips, and tricks will help you become a better baker, just in time to celebrate Pi Day with us.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

The redesigned version of the OXO scale is accurate and had all the features that made the old model our favorite: sturdy construction, responsive buttons, and a removable platform for easy cleaning. The screen can still be pulled out nearly 4 inches when weighing oversize items. Instead of a backlight setting, the screen now has brightly lit digits on a dark background, which we found even easier to read than the old model’s screen. OXO also added two display options for weight. Users can choose to view ounces only (24 oz), pounds and ounces (1 lb 8 oz), grams only (2500 g), or kilograms and grams (2 kg 500 g), which comes in handy when doubling a recipe. The scale now uses decimals rather than fractions, so it’s more precise and easier to read.

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This knife was “superadept”; its sharp, flexible blade nimbly hugged curves, so we could surgically remove peels or cores without plunging too deeply. It was the lightest knife we tested, with a slim handle that a few testers found insubstantial but most praised for its ability to disappear in your palm and become an extension of your hand: “There’s no disconnect between my brain and the blade.”

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The deeply beveled edge of this scraper cut through pizza and bread dough quickly and scraped the work surface effectively. The textured polypropylene handle was easy to hold on to, even with greasy or floury hands, and was thinner than other scrapers’ handles, helping us hold it flat to the work surface for easier, more effective scooping and scraping.

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One package of these weights contains 1 cup of ceramic balls. To completely fill an aluminum foil–lined pie shell, we found that we had to use four packages, or 4 cups, which weighed about 2 pounds. When we completely filled a pie shell with these weights, they were heavy enough to keep the bottom from bubbling or puffing and the fragile sides from slumping.   More on this test

This golden-hued metal plate baked crusts beautifully without overbrowning; even bottom crusts emerged crisp and flaky. Additionally, we liked this plate’s nonfluted lip, which allowed for maximum crust-crimping flexibility. One minor drawback: The metal surface is susceptible to cuts and nicks, but we found that this didn’t affect its performance.

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Coming in a variety of useful sizes that nest for compact storage, our winning set performed ably on almost every test. Its wide, shallow bowls were easy to hold, fill, empty, and clean. They can be used in the microwave and the oven. While the bowls in this set were the only ones to break when dropped, the heaviness of the glass with which they’re made makes it unlikely that they’ll easily fly off the counter.

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A smaller version of our favorite cake carrier, this collapsible plastic tote expanded to accommodate even our tallest Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie. Its large, nonskid base held 8-, 9-, and 10-inch pies perfectly in place, even on bumpy car rides. A bonus: It comes with two molded inserts for deviled eggs, one of which can be flipped upside down and used as a second tier for transporting two shorter pies at once. Its one slight fault: The latches took a little finessing to secure properly.

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The silicone center ring on this oval pan kept the pie plate anchored in place, allowing us to transfer the ring and pie plate into and out of the oven without fear of the pie sliding off. A wide rim on opposite sides made it easiest of all to grasp through oven mitts. As with the other models in our lineup, its nonstick surface cleaned up easily.

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While it looks scary, this roller was actually easy and intuitive to use and has a heft that made it comfortable to handle. Five small pizza wheels are attached to an expandable rack; you can adjust the width of your dough strips from 1/3 inch up to 5 inches. But you still have to weave the strips on the pie by hand. In a bakery that churns out a high volume of lattice-top pies, this device could be a timesaver; for us, the price tag is a deal breaker.

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