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I need to make individual pies this week. I would usually use pre-bought tin foil containers, approximately 10cm diameter, 3cm high. I can't buy these anywhere near me and have left it too late for mail-order! I also don't have any ramekins I could use in the oven.

Has anyone got experience making their own foil pie trays? I am thinking of using a noodle bowl as a mold and just layering the foil. How many layers of foil is optimum?

I am also worried that the pies won't have enough support while baking (they will be filled meat & gravy pies, traditional Australian style) and could burst open in my oven, so was wondering about placing them into a bed of rice/uncooked beans. Would this still allow the shortcrust pastry to cook?

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2 Answers 2

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If you have oven safe noodle bowls (ceramic, not plastic) then line them, as you describe with the foil, but do not remove them from the bowls. Bake your pie in the lined bowls, then remove the finished pies, with their aluminum "pan" intact. Or just make pasties...no pan required.

As you indicate you don't have oven safe bowls and it must be a pie, I decided to experiment, using the double foil idea. I have heavy duty foil. I used a double layer and lined a noodle bowl making sure that there was plenty of foil out past the edge. I then pressed another noodle bowl on top of the two sheets of foil to make sure all is acting as a unit. While the top bowl is still in place, crumple up the excess foil, making a rim. This is what will give you the strength you need. I would then take the top bowl out, and line the now stable foil pie tin with your pie pastry. Fill the pie and if there is a top crust, finish the pie. You can now take the pie out of the noodle bowl and bake it as usual, although I would certainly do it on a baking sheet.

The double foil is much stronger than you'd expect, but the stability comes from the rim you build with the excess foil hanging over the edge.

Here's the finished bowl with the two molding bowls. Tin Foil bowl

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I would, but unfortunately the noodle bowls aren't oven-safe in this (temporary) kitchen of mine. Pasties are out too this time - the pies are for Australia Day, so need to be as authentic as possible. –  KimbaF Jan 24 '11 at 8:54
    
wow, above and beyond the call of duty there! Thanks for the experiment. Definitely better than my experiment involving bits of cardboard and lots of alfoil...while I didn't think your method would be stable enough, you're right about the rim giving it more stability. Looking forward to some good pies tomorrow... –  KimbaF Jan 25 '11 at 8:51
    
You piqued my curiosity so, naturally, I had to go ahead and do it. I hope they work out for you. –  Doug Johnson-Cookloose Jan 25 '11 at 16:41

I can't speak from experience, as I've never done this in particular, but I've done a fair but of model making and such, and I'm going to say that simple layering isn't going to give you enough structure to really hold anything. (the layers will slip against each other, as they're not laminated; you'd really need heavier foil to make it work well, or to add some sort of glue in between the layers).

If it were me, I'd go with one of two things:

  1. Go to the hardware store, and get a roll of aluminum flashing, then use that to some tins. (of course, I already have a roll in my garage, and the necessary tools for working with it, as you might have to hammer it around a form to get it to work well). I'd probably still coat it with foil on the inside, as I don't know if they coat the flashing with anything that might not be food-safe.

  2. Use two layers of heavy duty foil (just in case one leaks, not because it's significantly stronger), place it on a sheet pan, and then crumple up a piece of foil into a long snake, then make it into a ring and twist the ends together (and crush down well), so it'll act as a support to keep the sides from being able to fall down.

It's possible that you might be able to get a similar supporting effect with dry beans or pie weights, but it might take a fair bit, as you'd need to come far enough up the side of the pans to support them (maybe 2/3 of the way up or more)

I'd probably try to blind bake the bottom crusts, so it'll be a little firmer before you go to fill them. (and in that case, you're already using beans or something else as pie weights).

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