My first view of the beautifully colored Emile Henry pans was at a kitchenware store many years ago. Immediately I envisioned the freshly baked creations I would pull from my oven still steaming through vents placed on top of golden buttery flaky pastry. So, when a good friend presented me with one—my first—for a special occasion, I couldn’t believe my eyes. That moment of opening the box and pulling back the tissue paper to find a beautiful blue 9” deep-dish pie pan, is one I still vividly remember, even though that day was over 20 years ago.
When I lifted it out of the box, I admired its heft. Then I turned it over to see the words “Emile Henry France” on the bottom. Classic! I couldn’t wait to make an apple pie in it. Of course, I promised my generous friend a piece or two, plus a few more pies as a thank you.
The pan quickly became a favorite and I have added more Emile Henry pans to my collection over the years including a sweet 8” cherry red (which is just the perfect size for a small family dinner at home) and a magnificent 12” pan in a deep shade of red for celebrations. I can’t begin to count all the pies I have made in them… hundreds, if not more.
The purpose of a pie crust is to encase a filling and the even heat distribution and retention of the Burgundian clay Emile Henry uses gives me a perfectly crisp, golden crust on bottom and sides every time. I have baked for over five decades for family and friends, and as a pie teacher and author, and used many different pie pans, and with my trusty Emile Henry pans, I know that I will get not just a good bake but a great one.
And that first Emile Henry pan? It’s over 20 years old now and still going strong.