how to make a pie bird

Picture it: Youre making Grandmas legendary apple pie. Lets say you blind baked your crust—even remembered your pie weights—and properly vented your top layer of pastry, but somehow your pie still ends up a soggy mess. Does that sound familiar? We love our modern kitchen tools, but it turns out your grandma probably had the perfect solution for preventing this mess all along: a pie bird.

What is a pie bird? Why do I need one?

how to make a pie bird

Even though each pie bird is unique, the mold ensures a consistent quality and helps maintain a uniform appearance.

Our ceramic pie birds are classic, minimal and functional works of art created for us in small batches by the wonderful team at Honeycomb Studio.

Each pie bird has four main steps, and it all begins with a mold and “liquid porcelain,” also known as “slip” in pottery. After that, the slip is left in the mold for roughly 30 minutes. The pie bird loses a lot of its moisture during that period due to the mold, leaving behind a hardened clay shell. The potter and founder of Honeycomb Studio, Courtney, informed us that the pie bird itself loses roughly one-third of its volume while it is being created. When making a mold for our pie birds, or any other piece of pottery, she and her team take this into consideration.

The piece will undergo two firings in the kiln during this process, the first being a leisurely 24-hour firing at a lower temperature—still a high 1900 degrees. After this protracted firing, the bird emerges smaller, tougher, and stronger. The bird is covered in a layer of glaze that is hand-mixed after being polished with sandpaper. Courtney puts her hands in the glaze and works them until it reaches a consistency that she can feel and taste, which is ideal for a smooth pie bird. It quickly dries and is prepared for the glaze fire, which is the next firing. The glaze fire is faster and hotter, at 2300 degrees. The glaze permanently coats the item and fuses to it, making it safe for food.

The pie bird needs to air dry for approximately a week after being stamped with the collaborative makers mark. Even though there is a lengthy wait, it is well worth it. After a week, the pie bird is robust, silky, dry, and prepared for firing.

How do you use a pie bird?Thankfully, using a pie bird just adds a few quick steps to your pie-baking process. Try it with a pie that has a top crust, like

how to make a pie bird

FAQ

What can I use instead of a pie bird?

Baking Without a Pie Bird If you don’t have a pie bird, don’t worry. Most people don’t use pie birds, and their pies are still tremendously good. In place of pie birds, you can cut some vents in your crust to allow steam to escape.

How to make a pie with a pie bird?

Make sure your bottom crust is cold, or the bird might cut into your crust. After it’s in place, spoon your filling around it. Next, cut a hole in the center of your top crust for the pie [bird] to stick out of. Carefully place the top crust over the filling so that the pie [bird] sticks out of the hole.

Is a pie bird worth it?

You don’t have to use a pie bird on any pie, but it can prevent the filling from erupting and making a mess of your pie crust. Some bakers also claim it makes the bottom crust less soggy. A pie bird is most beneficial when you’re topping a pie with a solid crust.

What is the purpose of the pie bird in Le Creuset?

The hollow pie bird vents steam from the filling as it cooks, preventing the contents from boiling over, while arches on the bottom redirect excess moisture to keep the bottom crust from becoming soggy.