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The Right Tools for Baking a Pie

Creating perfect crusts with luscious fillings doesn't have to be a pie-in-the-sky idea. Get these essential items to make the job easier.

By Ken Haedrich
0611cuisin-artDon PennyRealSimple.com

Food processor: Once upon a time, you had to cut the fat into the flour with 2 knives. Now the food processor does it for you―far more efficiently. Cuisinart's 14-cup Power Prep Plus Food Processor is ideal for a double batch of pastry (enough for two double-crust pies); smaller-capacity models are better suited to a single batch. To buy: $300, williams-sonoma.com.

Pyrex 9-inch pie pan: The girl next door of dishes―simple, pretty, capable, and reliable. It can withstand routine kitchen roughhousing, and the heatproof glass browns the bottom crust beautifully every time. To buy: about $5 at most major supermarkets.

Rolling pin: The heavy-duty maple model by Vic Firth is the Rolls-Royce of rolling pins. It has plenty of heft, which means it does a lot of the work for you. The sturdy, stable handles aren't just stuck into the ends like an afterthought, and its tight wood grain doesn't absorb moisture or fat, making it easy to clean. To buy: $36, target.com.

Silpat nonstick mat: Used primarily as a nonstick liner for baking sheets, this flexible silicone-treated mat is also an excellent surface for rolling out pie pastry. You don't even have to flour it: Just roll, flip into the waiting pan, then peel off the mat. To buy: $20, surlatable.com.

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Quick Tip

Aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a drawer

The flan can be baked up to 3 days in advance; refrigerate, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Unmold just before serving.