With things like rolling pins, you think, "A rolling pin is a rolling pin is a rolling pin," right? Well, usually. The Sil-Pin from Fiesta, a silicone version I found recently at Williams-Sonoma ($29.95, stores only), challenged my idea of an ideal rolling pin—kicked it up a notch, shall we say?
Priced at the same point as most decent wooden rolling pins with handles, this one is an ultra-long metallic bar wrapped in silicone, conveniently marked with inches and centimeters for perfectly fitting pie crusts. I'd seen such markings on Silpat-like mats, and those might be a little easier to follow (since, you know, they're not rotating as you roll), but these were plenty helpful.
Between the mat and the pin, I'd probably recommend the latter. It's not just the markings that help, but the metal allows the pin to be cooled in the freezer (like marble), and the silicone keeps the whole thing cool while preventing sticking (no need to flour the pin). It'll warm up faster than marble, but it's sufficient for an intermediate (or even advanced) baker who's not ready to commit to marble's larger price tag.
As a side note, though, the pin isn't explicitly designed to be kept in the freezer, and the change in temperature change might cause the metallic end caps to pop out once in a while. I also liked the conspicuously absent handles—aside from elongating the pin itself, there's something about working with the pin itself that gets you closer to the dough underneath. Sometimes the dough still sticks with grittier doughs, but there's improvement across the board. It might be a little like reinventing the wheel, but for this one, I'm on board.