Hot off the heels of the success of its original individual pie maker, Kmart has released a ‘family-sized’ version. We put it to the test in our kitchen labs and compared the results to an oven-baked pie. And our verdict? It may only cost $29, but we think you’re better off baking a large pie in the oven rather than forking out cash for this appliance.
Earlier this year, we gave the CHOICE thumbs up to Kmart's Anko individual pie maker and we do enjoy an exciting new appliance almost as much as we love pies. So, our kitchen testers were keen to get their hands on the new Kmart family-sized pie maker to see if it was even better than the original.
Whether you're dreaming of a giant custard tart, family-sized vanilla slice or a crispy, golden meat pie that's ready in minutes, our testers dish out some expert advice on whether it's worth getting a slice of this new Kmart hack.
What's new about the Kmart family pie maker?
Like the original Kmart pie maker that turns out four mini pies, this one costs $29 and is essentially the same deal. You preheat, add pastry, add filling to pie, cook pie, eat pie – except instead of four individual pies, you'll get just one (the pie maker is 2.5cm deep with a diameter of approximately 18cm).
Like the original pie maker, it comes with a plastic pastry cutter but no timer (so you have to keep track of the cooking time yourself).
The pie made in the Kmart appliance (left) vs our oven-baked version - which one do you prefer?
Our pie test: first impressions
So how did this family-sized version fare in our ultimate pie test? Our testers found that it's an inexpensive appliance that's easy to use and relatively quick to cook a pastry treat. But when it comes to larger pies, you're better off sticking with your oven – they rated this appliance 'Only OK' in our testing.
"This pie maker didn't perform as well as Kmart's original four-pie maker. Because you're making one larger pie as opposed to four smaller ones, it just doesn't cook as well, particularly across the base of the pie," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair.
"The machine didn't seal the pie well and you end up with quite a messy finish rather than a neat decorative edge that you get with the individual pie maker," says Fiona.
"It's also a bit of a stretch to say this size would feed a family – I'd say the serving size is much more suited to three people, although perhaps only two if you have a large appetite," says Fiona. "It's not really any bigger than cooking four individual pies."
Pie maker vs oven-baked pie
Although cooking your pie using a pastry dish old-school style in the oven will take around 40 minutes, as opposed to about 15 minutes in the pie maker, Fiona says you'll get better results. We made both to compare, and crowned the oven-baked pie a clear winner.
"The pie that comes out of the oven is much more golden, flaky and evenly cooked," says Fiona. "The one from the pie maker is pale golden and slightly flat."
"The oven pie looks homemade, golden and enticing, whereas the pie maker one looks like a pancake," says Gene, CHOICE photographer and food aficionado.
We cooked both sweet and savoury versions in the pie maker and oven to compare results.
More pie maker hints and tips
The pie maker is a small appliance so you can stand it upright and store it neatly in your cupboard.
Ours didn't come with an instruction manual, however after contacting the manufacturer, they told us this was an error and let us know that the instructions are available online on the Kmart website.
Leave the lid closed
Our test team noted that once you close the lid and start cooking the pie, you should try to minimise opening the lid to see if it's cooked – this is because the thermostat cuts out when you open the lid so you'll lose heat and the pie will take longer to cook.
Fiona warns users to "take care when adding the pastry and removing the pies, as the surfaces get very hot and it's quite easy to cause burns."
Pastry and fillings
Save time by using pre-made sheets of either shortcrust or puff pastry. "I like to use shortcrust on the base and puff pastry on the top," Fiona says. "I find this gets best results. You can also use any savoury or sweet fillings you like."