I had my first company Christmas party with the quilt shop Monday night.  Well, there’s only 9 of us actually!  What a fun night!  One of the ladies, Ellen hosted.  She made the most delicious gumbo and the rest of us brought rolls, salads and cookies.  I’m the newbie, so I really had a lovely time getting to know my co-workers better.  I can already tell, we are like a little family!  I’m so lucky to have a wonderful boss and co-workers! We also did a secret Santa exchange.  Ellen was my Santa.  She doesn’t know me well yet, but I mentioned to her a couple of weeks ago that I liked to cook and bake, especially pies.  I received the cutest and most functional little gifts.

It’s a little Pie Bird.  I did not have one and have always wanted to try one.  Apparently, you put it in the middle of the pie shell before filling.  After filling around the Pie Bird, you drape the crust over the top of the beak, pushing down slightly.  The Pie Bird actually releases the steam during baking and is supposed to prevent a bubbling over mess.  Has anyone ever tried one of these cute little birdies?   Sounds like a good idea!  I will be putting him to good use tonight when I get home from work!

I received one more little “guy” in my gift bag.

LOL!  Now I got a good chuckle from him because I had no clue for what he was for!!  Does anyone know what he is?  ……..An egg separator!  That’s great!!  I will use him a ton!  I could have really used him Sunday night when we were baking cookies with the girls.  I might even look for recipes that separate eggs, simply so I can use him.  Totally puts a smile on my face every time I look at him!  Yes, I am easily amused. Thanks for all my great gifts, Ellen!

Speaking of pies, I will making a couple of apple pies for Christmas this year.  I know there are a million apple pie recipes out there, but the following one is for “Caramel Apple Pie.”  It’s my favorite!  I swear I could eat a whole pie myself!

Caramel Apple Pie

2 pie crusts.  Homemade or store.  I always make my own.

2 1/2 pounds apples.  Peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 T unsalted butter
1 T plus 1 t cornstarch

In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Let the apple mixture set at room temp. for about 2 hours.  Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl to capture juices.  Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have a least a cup of juice.  Spray a 4 cup heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray and then pour in the collected juices and 2 T of butter.  Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 C and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, roll bottom crust onto pie plate.  Transfer the drained apples to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch.  Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.  Pour the apples into the chilled pie crust.  Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top pie crust over the apples.  Tuck and crimp the the top crust around the pie.  Cut slits into top to allow steam to escape.  Or use a Pie Bird.

Place on the lowest rack of the oven on a baking sheet or stone.  Place a piece of aluminum foil on the pan or stone to catch any apple juices.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble thought the slits and the apples feel tender, not mushy when a sharp knife is inserted though a slit.  My oven takes 55 minutes.  Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting.  AND ta-da…

So yummy with a slightly caramel taste.  Enjoy!


  • Cindy says:

    Oh my word, what unique, fun gifts. I love them both, Linda.

    I am a "pie person" as well. I love to make them, all different kinds. I've never heard of a "pie bird" but will have to google it to learn more about this fun little gadget.

    And, the egg separater – who'd of thought?

    What great, thoughtful ideas.

  • Lori says:

    How fun to get along with your co-workers so well! What great gifts for a baker!!

  • Abby and Stephanie says:

    What a fun party. I've seen pie birds but never an egg separater as fun as this one. Pretty pie. Thank you for sharing your recipe. My family is wanting Pear Pie for Christmas this year.

  • Yvette says:

    Now I am green with envy knowing you work in a quilt shop. I think I knew it already but I was in denial. LOL!!

    I am not looking at that pie, I can eat the whole thing and my diet starts Monday.

  • Darlene says:

    The pie bird is cute! The egg separator makes me giggle. LOL

    YUMMY apple pie recipe. One to try one day soon.

  • Sharon says:

    Those are very unique gifts! I've never heard of either one before! Thank you for the pie recipe! It looks delicious!!

  • Karen says:

    Love the pineapple in the pie crust! I'll be over for a piece of pie. LOL!
    I have never tried one of those pie birds but have seen them several times. Let us know how it works.

  • mary pernula says:

    I do not bake, my husband is the head chef and baker, I have always wanted a vintage blackbird pie whistle (I CALL THEM). What a cool gift. Enjoy and it sounds like a lot of fun where you work. Hugs Mary

  • Carrie P. says:

    Cute little pie bird. I have looked for them in antique stores and they are hard to find. I would have never guess the little jug was an egg separator. cute!

  • Mama Pea says:

    What great gifts! I love them both! How thoughtful of her. We finished our baking here, and I'm going to go make some deliveries now. I'm so jealous you get to work in a quilt shop. That would be so fun! Have a wonderful day!

  • Cheryll says:

    How fun!

  • Denise in PA says:

    Oh, your party sounds like so much fun! And, what fun to work in a quilt shop – my dream job! I have one of those little pie birds, but have never used it. Cute!!

  • Jeanette says:

    Love the gifts. Never tried a pie bird but often "think" of buying one. I can see why your other gift amuses you. So cute. I never would've picked that it was an egg separator though. Have fun with your new "toys". Lol. Hugs,

  • Brandie says:

    Great gifts! I can't wait to hear how the crow works. Like you I've wanted to try one… but you know how that goes.
    I'm putting that pie on my list of goodies for Christmas. Sounds SO good!

  • Joanne says:

    Great gifts, love the egg separator. I am going to try the pie recipe – thanks for sharing!♥

  • Candace says:

    Goody – another pie lady! I love making pies, Linda! In the "old days" we used pie birds, but as I've perfected (hah) my berry pies I find I no longer use them – what fun it would be to have a pie bird collection! Sounds like your new co-workers are a fantastic lot! Love your egg separator – you must giggle every time you look at him!

  • Country Prims says:

    Thought I was signed up for following you and couldn't understand missing these last few posts! I am DEFinAtely a follower now!lol!

    So glad your 'long arm' has arrived-can't wait to read all about it in the new year:)

    Love the pie recipe-I make one similar that is a winter staple here-very comforting:))

    Thanks for visiting and happy Christmas to you and yours,

    Shazy x

  • Carol says:

    What a fun party…I'm so glad you're having so much fun at the quilt shop. What great gifts…I've never seen and egg separator like that…it's wonderful. That pie sounds out of this world. I'll be trying that really soon, or maybe I'll just come to your house and have some!

  • QuiltSue says:

    I have usewd a pie bird for years. I find that I still cut one slit in the pastry, but that's all.

    As for working in a quilt shop – it's not all it's cracked up to be. I found I spent more than I earned every time I was there. It's closed now and I really miss it.

  • Mary @ Neat and Tidy says:

    This pie recipe sounds really good, and I'm going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing.

    I so enjoy your blog and look forward to 2011 following what you are up to. In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas celebration.