For Epicurious, by Joe Sevier.
I was making a pie over the holidays when a few tips from my colleagues — and nightmarish images of Pyrex shatter all over my kitchen — popped to mind. The first pie pointer, suggested by Sam Worley, instructs home bakers to freeze a shaped pie shell for some time prior to baking. The second, from Rhoda Boone, suggests preheating a sheet pan in the oven, then setting your pie plate directly on top of the hot sheet pan as it bakes.
Both tips are meant to help home bakers achieve the crispest crust possible, so I thought, why not combine the two? But just as I was about to place my ice-cold pie plate on the burning-hot sheet pan, I had a serious moment of pause. I was using a glass Pyrex dish, and something in my brain told me that if I placed it onto the scalding metal, it would shatter—and send my precious pie into the air.
Looking into it further, I saw that Pyrex doesn’t specifically warn against placing cold glass on a hot surface. But the company is pretty adamant when it comes to the reverse. “Avoid sudden temperature changes to glassware,” the Pryex website reads. “DO NOT add liquid to hot glassware; place hot glassware on a wet or cool surface, directly on countertop or metal surface, or in sink; or handle hot glassware with wet cloth.” (The all-caps emphasis is theirs.)
Considering these warnings, I feel pretty good about my decision to hold off on the cold glass/hot pan scenario. Here are a few more scenarios to avoid when you’re working with glassware.
DON’T SET A HOT GLASS DISH DIRECTLY ON THE METAL EYES OF YOUR STOVE
Yes, the eyes are heat resistant, but as indicated above, placing hot glass on cool metal could result in shattering. Instead, set the dish on a silicone or cloth hot pad, or on an impeccably dry dish towel draped over a wooden cutting board.
DON’T COOK A DRY DISH IN A GLASS PAN
Or, as the Pyrex website puts it: “Add a small amount of liquid sufficient to cover the bottom of the dish prior to cooking foods that may release liquid.” The point here is to avoid subjecting the hot glass to cool liquids, such as juices that might seep out of foods while cooking. Starting the cooking process with some liquid already in the pan will prevent cool or room temperature juices from having a negative impact.
ENSURE ALL CLOTHS OR OVEN MITTS USED TO HANDLE THE PAN ARE DRY BEFORE USING THEM
For one thing, wet cloths and oven mitts conduct heat, so you’ll burn your hands.
USE OVEN MITTS TO HANDLE HOT PANS
Apparently this is a problem that Pyrex had to address?
DON’T USE GLASS COOKWARE TO REHEAT DRY FOODS IN THE MICROWAVE
Again, the sudden change in temperature could cause breakage.
DON’T USE GLASS COOKWARE TO COOK DISHES WHICH REQUIRE HIGH HEAT TECHNIQUES
This includes cooking on the stovetop (unless the glass dish is specifically designed for that purpose, in which case follow the manufacturer’s instructions), grilling, broiling, and cooking in a toaster oven.
CONSIDER COOLING TIME
Especially if you plan to dish up your dinner with a metal spoon. Allow the glass dish several minutes to cool down before digging in with that room temp spoon.
Get this recipe: Coconut Cream Pie
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