Back in the 19th century, bakers used chimney-like vents to keep pie fillings from boiling over and leaking out of the crust. Originally a variety of shapes were used, but by the 1930s the most common form was a bird like this one – a charming reference to the nursery rhyme about blackbirds baked into a pie.
Placed in the center of the pie before adding the filling, it has a hole running from the arched base to the beak, providing a route for steam to escape. It vents the steam from the bottom of a cooking pie, resulting in a crisper, less soggy pie bottom than vents cut into the crust top alone. The bird’s shoulders support the crust to keep it from sagging in the middle.
Just under 4" tall, it’s a useful centerpiece for any pie. Dishwasher safe.