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BellaOnline's Home Cooking Editor


Black Birds Baked in a Pie?

Guest Author - Sandy Moyer

Pie birds are small, hollow, ceramic or stoneware figures, usually about 3 to 5 inches high. They are vents which are "baked" in a pie to allow the steam to escape and prevent the pie filling in a two crust pie from cooking over in the oven. They also help the pie to bake more evenly and help support the top crust and keep it from sagging in the middle.

Pie birds are also sometimes referred to as pie vents, pie funnels, pie chimneys or pie whistles. Although commonly known as pie birds, they can also be found in many other shapes. Primitive, basic pie birds were shaped like inverted funnels. While most are shaped like birds with their beaks wide open, there are pie birds shaped like a great variety of other animals. There are also pie bird holiday figures like Santas, snowmen and trees ... pie bird nursery rhyme characters, early Americana folk characters and other little people.... pie bird teapots, lighthouses and much more.

Pie birds have been used for baking since Victorian Times, but today most pie birds are collector's items. Both vintage and new, hand-crafted pie birds are now sought after kitchen collectibles.

After several years of collecting assorted bird-shaped pie birds, I recently decided to actually use a pie bird. Since I didn't want to risk damaging a collectible bird, I purchased a pair of very reasonable new pie birds on Ebay. Now... I'm happy to say that pie birds do work very well! I've baked several different kinds of fruit pies with pie birds, and even when filled to the brim, the pies turned out beautifully and didn't boil over in my oven. From now on there will always be pie birds baked in my fruit pies!

To make a pie using a pie bird....

  • Roll out the bottom pie crust and place it in a pie plate.

  • Place the pie bird in the center of the unbaked crust.

  • Spoon the pie filling into the crust, spreading it evenly around the pie bird.

  • Roll out the top crust and cut a small "x" in the center.

  • Lay the top crust on the pie, while easing the top of the pie bird through the x-shaped cut.

  • Pinch the dough together around the pie bird to gently seal the opening.

  • Trim away any excess dough from around the edge of the pie dish.

  • Crimp and the seal the top and bottom crusts together.

  • Bake according to your pie recipe directions.

  • Remove the pie bird before storing or serve with the pie bird in place, removing it just before cutting the pie.

  • Shop Pfaltzgraff for Pie Birds and Other Baking Accessories...

    Folk Art Deep Dish Pie Plate w/Black Bird Pfaltzgraff Folk Art Deep Dish Pie Plate with Pie Bird
    This deep-dish stoneware pie plate features an unglazed bottom and provides even, thorough heat conduction. The black pie bird allows steam to vent through its hollow interior, preventing the filling from boiling over and helping to distribute heat evenly. The result is a perfectly baked, delicious pie.
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    Content copyright © 2015 by Sandy Moyer. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Sandy Moyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Allyson Elizabeth DŽAngelo for details.


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