Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pie Birds at Gourmet Fusion

If you are wondering what a is, it is a steam vent which is placed in the center of fruit and meat pies while they are cooking to let the steam out. These were used in England and were introduced in times, and supported the pastry in the middle of the pie so that it didn't sag in the center while cooking, as well as letting the steam out.

I grew up in England and learned to bake there, and do not recall any modern cook using a pie bird. However, these items (often in the shape of a bird) are now something of a collector's item, and as well as having a practical use, are mostly used for decorative purposes.

On researching pie birds, it appears that many celebrities, including Princess Diana, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, have all collected pie birds. They come in many shapes and sizes, often a bird, but not always, as you can see from this cute little snowman pie vent shown here.

How to Use a Pie Bird

To releases steam during baking through the hole in the top using a pie vent, simply place the pie bird in the middle of the pie shell before filling. After filling around the pie bird, place the crust over the top of the beak, pushing down slightly, and the pie bird will release steam during baking.

Several pie birds are now available in the Gourmet Fusion and would make a great gift for the baker in the family, or the someone starting a pie bird collection.

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