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So over the weekend I wanted to make a deep-dish pizza and ended up with a thick crust as the pan I have is only about half as deep as I would need and two inches wider than the recipe called for. For deep-dish should I bother with spending forty dollars on a black steel 2-inch high 12" pan (that would only be used for pizza basically), or would I be better served to pay half as much for a two-inch high cast iron Lodge skillet (which would be much more versatile)?

I really like the crust you get from a heavy aluminum baking pan (thick-crust must be some kind of nostalgia thing), and already have a large stone (so good to go on thin crust), so I am looking to round out my options. Is there an alternate material or pan combination that works as well as cast-iron but might be lighter or even less expensive?

Am I traveling the total wrong route to a great deep-dish, or do I just need some fine adjustment?

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A 2" or 3" deep round cake pan (i.e., fairly thin aluminum, but nowhere near as thin as the disposable things) actually works pretty well. These cost under $10 each. For example, Walmart sells one for $9

That's a 9" wide pan, but 12" cake pans are available too—and only a little more expensive. Maybe expect to pay $15 for one.

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So just to ask, as I recall them being frequently used, will a cake pan like this be able to deliver browned crusts like cast-iron, or is the lighter weight a trade-off? –  mfg Feb 28 '12 at 19:12
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@mfg Yes, you can get browned crusts in a cake pan. E.g., the Cooks Illustrated recipe actually calls for a cake pan, and it browns. (They have a picture there, which I think you can see even if you're not a member). The link you gave is using a weird procedure to make a cold cast iron skillet work; with an aluminum cake pan its just 20–30 min in a preheated 425 oven. –  derobert Feb 28 '12 at 23:36

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