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This Trick Will Save Your Holiday Fruit Pie

A pie bird will prevent your pies from getting soggy.

Pie bird. Credit: Flickr, chrisdebruyn
Pie bird. Credit: Flickr, chrisdebruyn
Pie season is officially at peak season. Can you even recall a holiday party you've hosted or attended recently that did't have a pie in the dessert spread? Probably not, which means you've likely had your fair share of well-meaning pies that are just a little soggy.

There's a fix and it's called a pie bird. Shaped like a little bird with an open beak, pie birds are ceramic vents that allow steam to escape your fruit pie while cooking. They help prevent soggy crusts and fillings from spilling over. Just insert it into your two-crust fruit pie and bake.

Vintage and new versions are popular. If you're thinking of bringing a pie to a holiday party, include a pie bird with a coordinating pie dish as a hostess gift.

Read on for holiday pie recipes:

Mini Rhubarb Pies

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups fresh rhubarb cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 10" pie crusts, refrigerated, unbaked
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten. 

Directions:

  • Heat oven 375°F. 
  • From each pie crust, cut a small circle to fit as the bottom crust in each of four 5.5" pie plates. 
  • Cut long strips out of remaining dough, about 1/2 an inch in width. Chill both while preparing filling. 
  • In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar, flour, cardamom, nutmeg, orange zest and juice. Stir. 
  • Fill each pie dish with filling, mounding each one full. Using chilled dough strips, criss-cross over each pie, making a lattice pattern. Trim excess dough from sides of pies and then crimp edges together. Brush dough with beaten egg. 
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Let cool and serve.

Easy Pecan Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups pecans 
  • 9" refrigerated pie crust, unbaked 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white syrup
  • 1 cup dark syrup

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 375°F. 
  • Unroll pie crust; press into 9" pie pan. 
  • Beat eggs and sugar together. Add flour and vanilla. Add syrups and pecans. Mix well, pour into crust, and bake 45 minutes. 
  • Cool before serving.


Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 30 chocolate wafers 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla
  • 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

For Crust: 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. 
  • Crush cookies in blender or food processor until only small crumbs remain. Mix in butter and cinnamon. Process until thoroughly blended. 
  • Press mixture into pie plate. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Cool to room temperature. 
For Filling:
  • Melt chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream in microwave in 30-60 second intervals. Stir between heating cycles. Add vanilla and allow to cool. 
  • Whip cream in separate mixing bowl until stiff. Add powdered sugar and thoroughly blend. Carefully fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture. 
  • Spoon into pie shell and gently press into place using spoon or knife. Cover with a bowl, and cool in refrigerator at least overnight. 
For Topping: (Optional)
  • Whip cream and sugar as previously described. Spread topping over center of pie, or use a pastry bag to pipe 1/2 inch stars across top.

Holiday Mincemeat Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 jar (28 ounces) fine-quality brandied mincemeat
  • 2 9" refrigerated pie dough disc
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 egg white; 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 425°F. 
  • Press crust into pie pan and prick bottom several times with a fork. 
  • Fold whipping cream into mincemeat and mix thoroughly. 
  • Spread mixture over pastry. 
  • Sprinkle brown sugar and cake flour over mincemeat and mix together.
  • Cover with top crust, making various cuts in the crust and pinch edges. 
  • Brush top with egg whites and sprinkle with sugar. 
  • Bake 30 to 40 minutes.


Pumpkin Black Walnut Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped black walnuts, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 9" refrigerated pie dough disc
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 400°F. 
  • Press crust into pie pan and prick bottom several times with a fork and bake the pastry shell until very lightly browned, about 7 minutes. 
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together remaining ingredients except walnuts until smooth. 
  • Stir in 1/3 cup walnuts. 
  • Pour mixture into cooled pastry shell and sprinkle remaining walnuts over filling. 
  • Bake until filling has set and a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean, about 40 minutes. 
  • Cool on a wire rack.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup cooked, peeled sweet potatoes (about 3 sweet potatoes)
  • 1 refrigerated 9" pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 medium egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 325°F. 
  • Unroll pie crust; press into an 8" pie pan and crimp edges. Refrigerate 15 minutes. 
  • Mash sweet potatoes with butter and cream; reserve. 
  • Combine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in electric mixer bowl with reserved sweet potato mixture. Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth. Set aside. 
  • Combine 3/4 cup white sugar, corn syrup, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in electric mixer bowl. Blend on low speed for 1 minute or until completely blended. Add pecans and stir to blend. Set aside. 
  • To assemble pie: spoon sweet potato mixture evenly into chilled pie crust. Carefully pour pecan mixture over sweet potato mixture. Bake for 1 3/4 hours or until filling is set and crust is golden brown. Cool before slicing.


Bill's Pear Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 5 fresh pear halves (2 1/2 whole pears cut in half lengthwise), cored and trimmed
  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked; 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Directions: 

  • Heat oven to 400°F. 
  • Arrange trimmed pear halves, cut sides down, in unbaked pie crust.
  • Combine 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1 1/2 cups sour cream in bowl and whisk to blend. Spoon evenly over pears.
  • Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 cup butter in bowl and mix to coarse crumbled consistency. Spoon evenly over pie filling. 
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crumb topping is light golden brown.
  • Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
More from Kitchen Daily:
Easy Ways to Dress Up Your Holiday Cookie Recipes
9 DIY Food Gifts that Practically Make Themselves
Traditional Red Berry Holiday Trifle
The Secret to Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes


This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 

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