What’s a pie bird and how does it stop pastry getting soggy?

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When you bake a pie, you need to allow the steam to escape so that the pastry doesn’t get soggy. One way to do this is to use a ceramic pie bird (also called a pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnel or pie chimney) which has a hole in its beak to allow the steam to escape during cooking.

A pie bird is a ceramic gadget (in the shape of a bird) that you use when you are baking pies that are topped with a pastry lid to stop the pastry becoming soggy.

How to use a pie bird
All you do is place it in the middle of the pie with its beak pointing up, add the filling and lay the pastry over it, making sure it peeps out of the middle of the pastry (birds need to breathe after all).

A pie bird also offers the pastry some support as it helps to stop the pastry sagging on top of the pie’s contents where it will become soggy.

If you don’t have a pie bird and don’t want to buy one, use a ceramic egg cup instead (turn it upside-down).

Hand-wash and dry your pie bird after use (or snuggle it carefully into the dishwasher – it’s small and can fall through the basket so anchor it between something stable).

Where to buy a pie bird: you’ll find them in any good kitchen shop – the old-fashioned DIY-meets-kitchenware store is usually your best bet – or you can buy them online. They are inexpensive and give years of use.


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