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Soggy bottoms are a problem when baking pies, but pie birds take away that problem. Learn how to use pie birds in your pie baking recipes!
If you notice these little ornamental birds at the center of a pie, you’re not seeing things… those are pie birds!
Pie birds serve more than just decorating your pie. They play an essential role in baking and help you bake the best pie that isn’t bubbling too much and isn’t soggy after baking.
The nice thing about using a pie bird on your pies is that they don’t cost much. You snag some on Amazon or Etsy, which local artisans make.
So how does a pie bird help you make better pies?
- Blind baking your pie crust is is an important skill to learn in baking and help you prevent a soggy pie bottom crust!
- Want a flaky pie crust that doesn’t shrink when baking. Get some pie weights and learn how to use them!
What does a pie bird do?
Pie birds, also known as pie vents, pie whistles, and pie funnels, are hollow statuettes used by bakers to vent pies of steam and prevent the pie filling from bubbling. When steam gets trapped in your pie during the baking process, there’s a tendency for the vapor to condense, creating a soggy bottom crust.
Using a pie bird, you can take out the steam through the vent on the bird’s head so that less water accumulates at the bottom of the pie crust.
What are pie birds made of?
Most pie birds are made of ceramic and stoneware, which are oven-safe and safe for food use. These ceramic or stoneware are hollow to let the steam escape from the pie.
One reason pie birds are made of such material is that they don’t absorb moisture, which could break them when baked. They also have food-grade colorful enamel coatings to make the pie bird look like a bird.
In some cases, the pie vents are not shaped like birds and instead use whimsical shapes, such as elephants or other figures with elongated features that serve as a steam vent.
Is it easy to use a pie bird?
It’s pretty easy to use a pie bird in your recipes. Ensure that the pie bird is clean, especially if you plan to make another pie.
How do you use a pie bird?
Using a pie bird is relatively easy. You first must put your pie dough on your pie plate and blind-bake the crust. Once done par-baking the pie, you can add the filling to your pies.
Pie birds are inserted in the pie just after you place the filling and before putting in the top crust. To help facilitate putting the pie crust, cut an X in the center of the top crust before putting it on the pie.
If you know the dimensions of the pie bird, you may opt to cut a hole in the middle to put the top crust without toppling the bird. Keep in mind that the second crust will hold the base of the pie bird, so make sure that it also covers the lower part.
After you install the second pie crust, you can bake the pie according to the recipe. As the pie bakes in your oven, steam escapes through the hole in the bird’s head, which reduces the chances of pies getting soggy.
Once the pie is done, you should leave the pie bird as it is and cut the pie around the bird. To prevent the crust from toppling. Once the pie bird is free from the pie, you can take it out and wash it for future use.
What can you substitute a pie bird with?
If you need a pie bird but don’t have one, some substitutes you can use include a cinnamon stick, an inverted pastry tip, and parchment paper shaped into a funnel.
If you don’t have these items on hand, you may make a few slits on the top crust, allowing steam to escape.
Do you really need a pie bird to make pies?
Pie birds are used on double-crusted pies, like an apple pie, which would have little to no room to allow steam to escape. Other pies don’t need pie birds because they have ample space to allow steam to vent out, unlike a double-crusted pie, which has a second crust on top that can restrict steam from escaping.
Pie birds are all about preserving the integrity of your pies, especially when trying to preserve the bottom crust of your pies. The last thing you want is a pie that collapses when served just because the crust isn’t rigid enough to hold it.
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