Oven Safe Cookware
The beauty and blessing of oven-to-table ware is the saving in time, mess and possible disaster of transferring an excellently cooked and fragile dish, such as stuffed peppers, from a cooking container to a serving dish.
Heatproof dishes without lids are available in a variety of handsome designs and colours, while the shape of the dish is varied for the use for which it is designed.
The different types of dish available include dishes for gratins, pies, souffles and flans. Other shapes include pie plates and ramekins.
Which shape of dish you choose and how many of each you need depends largely on the number of people you cook for and the type of cooking you favour. Also important is the space available for storage. If this is limited you should consider a stacking range of any of the dishes.
Though suitable for the oven, these dishes are not flameproof and must therefore never be placed on top of the cooker unless the manufacturer's label specifically states this is possible. Heatproof dishes are usually made of ceramic, pottery or toughened glass.
Gratin or au gratin dishes are shallow and may be rectangular or oval. These may be used in the oven but are designed also to withstand the heat of a grill when food is sprinkled with butter and breadcrumbs, or grated cheese, and then browned.
Pie dishes may be round or oval, shallow or deep with a rim. Dishes designed for double-crust pies are shallower, from 2 to 3.75 cm. Dishes for single-crust pies are slightly deeper. A distinctive feature is their flat rim, about 1.2 cm wide, which is used to secure the pastry lid.
Pie plates are always round with a rim. They are shallower than pie dishes, are like plates, and have sides which slope outwards to the rim.
Souffle dishes are made in various diametrical sizes roughly 14 to 18 cm and come in two depths, 7.5 cm and 10cm. The deeper type is usually used for a hot souffle and the depth is to contain the souffle as it rises.
Ramekins which resemble miniature souffle dishes are usually between 5 and 10 cm across. They are also known as cocotte dishes and can be used for individual souffles, custards, hors d'oeuvres and desserts. They are particularly useful for foods such as pate or fish mousse on those occasions when it is simpler to serve individual portions.
Flan dishes made of ceramic or metal are cook-and-serve heatproof dishes. They are round or oval and of various sizes. Some have a fluted edge and all are used for open flans. Ceramic does not conduct heat as well as metal, so cooking in dishes of this material can be speeded by placing them on a baking tray in the oven. A few extra minutes of cooking time should otherwise be added to ensure that the bottom of the pastry is cooked thoroughly.
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