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The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Rhubarb custard pie

    • Astrid5555 on March 31, 2014

      Delicious pie for rhubarb fans! Loved how the vanilla-nutmeg custard perfectly complemented the tartness of the rhubarb. Because of the press-in crust one of the quickest pies ever. Would also be nice with the all-butter crust, though much more time and labor intensive.

  • Apple rose pie

    • hillsboroks on August 14, 2018

      What a lovely flavor combination and one I would not have thought of before I saw this recipe. I only added 2 tbls rose water and didn't tell my husband what made this pie smell and taste so good until after he had a piece. The rosewater really meld sin with the apple flavor to create a lovely harmony. Next time I will add the full amount of rosewater. Unless you have fairly sweet apples this recipe yields a not too sweet pie. I used some of our tart Gravensteins and next time will increase each sugar to 1/2 cup to compensate.

  • Rhuby razz square pie

    • nadiam1000 on April 06, 2015

      made the strawberry variation with 3 cups of strawberries - cut into 1/2" dice. Vey good. I want to try the raspberry variation while rhubarb is still in season.

  • Sour cherry pie

    • bching on July 02, 2017

      I loved the flavor of the filling so much so that I plan to use this recipe again with next year's cherry crop--but it was runnier than I would like. I will reduce some of the juices after pitting next year. I used Peychaud's bitters (my favorite) instead of Angostura--either way, the bitters are a genius touch!

    • Astrid5555 on July 29, 2015

      I have been wanting to make sour cherry pie for ages, so when I finally spotted some at the farmers' market yesterday I dove right in and picked up my favorite pie book. I used the book's "All-butter crust" recipe, which produces the flakiest crust ever and the final result did not disappoint. Despite the original tartness of the sour cherries, the filling is pleasantly sweet and in combination with the flaky crust a real winner! Will have to repeat next year!

  • Nectarine blueberry pie

    • anya_sf on July 11, 2018

      In the edition of this book I checked out from the library, this recipe did not call for any sugar or starch in the filling. However, others said their editions did, so I looked at similar recipes and decided to add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 3 Tbsp tapioca starch (I did not have arrowroot). I used extra fruit (probably 4 cups blueberries) as I had a deep-dish pie plate. The filling turned out well - very tasty, just the right sweetness. The crust was super flaky, although rather thick. Overall, the pie tasted very good, but I'm not sure I loved the allspice.

  • Paprika peach pie

    • Melanie on May 31, 2014

      Delicious - made a few changes (adding juniper berries, skipping the paprika and white pepper). Great pie filling.

  • Peaches & cream pie

    • mrshalf on November 01, 2017

      I made six of these pies one day to give to friends. Although they all loved them (I mean who doesn't love a surprise of pie!), I didn't think after all the pies I've made that this type is a keeper for us. It was meh at room temp and looked mushy. It was a little better cold - I guess we're just traditional peach pie fans, I'll save the "cream" for chocolate cream pies, lol.

    • clkandel on July 14, 2015

      This recipe doesn't work at room temperature, but is much better chilled.

    • twoyolks on July 28, 2015

      I really liked this pie. The oatmeal crust really compliments the peaches and cream. The spices are also a nice touch.

    • Astrid5555 on August 09, 2015

      We really liked this pie a lot! The oat crumble crust is delicious and goes really well with the custard and the peaches. A very quick pie to make compared to some others from the book.

    • anya_sf on July 05, 2018

      The crust was tricky. I melted the butter in hopes that it would be easier to press in the pan, but it was still difficult. A silicone spatula proved to be the best tool to press it in, plus the folded kitchen towel to fix it after baking. Still, the edges crumbled. I was so worried about overbaking the pie that I feared I underbaked it (after 40 minutes in the oven). The outer edges were set and the center slightly wobbly, but it also looked rather runny. I decided to let it cool in the oven, cheesecake-style, after turning the oven off. It actually turned out nearly perfect - very creamy and smooth. It was delicious and I'd definitely make it again, although perhaps with modifications to the crust. I served it well chilled.

  • White nectarine & red currant pie

    • Astrid5555 on August 16, 2015

      Wow, this was sooo good! I made it in a pie pan with a lattice top and not as suggested in a tart pan with a pastry round to top, since the instructions how to fit the dough into the tart pan sounded a little too fussy for my taste. I also added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the filling. The original recipe has no sugar in the filling, and even though I do not like my pies too sweet I was afraid that the addition of the red currants would make the filling too tart. With the additional sugar though, the filling had the perfect sweetness paired with the tartness from the red currants. A definite keeper.

  • Skillet stone fruit streusel pie

    • twoyolks on July 13, 2015

      I made this with apricots, plums, and plumcots. While the recipe states that one should adjust the amount of sugar depending on the fruit, no guidelines are given (not even for what type of fruit the recipe sugar amount was written for). This meant that my pie ended up too tart. The pie tasted similar to any other stone fruit pie. There's enough liquid in the filling that it leaked behind the pie crust. When cutting the pie, it mostly fell apart.

  • Salted caramel apple pie

    • twoyolks on November 09, 2015

      I ended up underbaking the pie (it looked done but the apples weren't cooked through). The caramel flavor was only lightly present. There wasn't enough structure to hold the pie together when cut.

    • nadiam1000 on November 23, 2018

      The only dessert for Thanksgiving 2018 and it was a winner! I have had this pie from the bakery and their crust was thicker and underdone which undermined the enjoyment. I have had good success with recipes from this book so I decided to make their signature pie for T-Day. I did get some boil-over which made the outside of my pie plate very sticky but luckily I had baked the pie on a parchment lined sheet pan. I baked on convection and should have lowered the temp 25 degrees (next time). I mixed the sugar, spice and flour into the apples. I let the apples drain for an hour, not the 20-30 mins recommended - I do not like a runny pie. Crust was flaky, beautifully browned and not soggy.

    • PiaOC on March 21, 2014

      Oh WOW - what a pie! Absolute success at the dinner party table - divine. Felt like I was the winning contestant on a cooking show! An easy, easy pastry - rolled out beautifully, the caramel is delicious and the combination of spices and herbs really enhanced the flavour of the apples. Bitters is such an inspired addition. Astrid5555 - the extra flour is added to the raw sugar mixture but following your tip, I read the 'how to' at the beginning of the book and added some extra flour and sugar to the crust before adding the filling. Think I may have found my new 'go to' pastry recipe and will definitely be making this pie again (and again!)

    • Foodo on January 28, 2014

      purely awesome http://foododelmundo.com/2013/12/29/4-20-blackbirds-salted-caramel-apple-pie/

    • DKennedy on November 27, 2017

      Susan made this pie and it was the most amazing pie I have EVER tasted, straight out of the oven.

    • Astrid5555 on January 25, 2014

      What an incredibly delicious apple pie! The caramel sauce alone is worth the effort, even though it took ages for the sauce to change to its desired color. The recipe for the sauce yields much more than needed for the pie, so now I have two mason jars full of delicious caramel sauce as well. The pie turned out great, no soggy bottom, once I found out that the 2 tablespoons of AP flour were probably meant to be put on the unbaked crust before adding the filling. No mention of where to use the additional flour in the recipe but consulting the how-to manual at the beginning of the book yielded the probable explanation. Husband declared it best pie ever, and I agree!

    • mrshalf on November 01, 2017

      I've made (and sold) quite a few of these beauties. After getting the caramel down, I've finally realized I can bake! Don't skip this one - it's the pie I'm the best at. Takes a long time for all the steps though!

  • Bourbon pear crumble pie

    • Foodo on January 28, 2014

      A lovely flavor!

  • Salty honey pie

    • cespitler on December 04, 2016

      I cannot tell you how amazing the Salty Honey Pie is! I've made it twice and both times almost everyone went back for second servings immediately! You can grab the recipe here. I've been lucky enough to feature honey from my own hive. http://southbrooklynpost...pie-mavens-share-recipe/ And, for this year's work holiday party I made the Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie. Folks loved the black bottom, but the reviews were mixed. I may have made it too close to Thanksgiving so folks were coming off of family favorite Pecan Pies. I would make this again at a different time a year. Both of these called for the All-Butter Crust, which is a great recipe on it's own. It bakes up really nice and garnered its own compliments

    • bching on December 21, 2016

      So delicious. The honey custard has a beautiful texture and the salt on top makes a nice contrast. Unfortunately, crust was soggy but that won't stop me from making this pie again.

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 23, 2018

      I took this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was received well. I was worried it would be too sweet; so I shorted the granulated sugar by a couple tablespoons. Otherwise, I made as instructed. It is rich and sweet. I could only take a small piece I might short the sugar/honey a little bit more next time. But otherwise, My sister & I really enjoyed this. Note: My pie started to get a bit dark on top about 30 minutes into baking. I just covered it with foil for the rest of the baking time. No problem.

  • Maple buttermilk custard pie

    • Astrid5555 on February 22, 2014

      Used grade C maple syrup for a more pronounced maple flavor. Nice custardy texture with a crunch from the cornmeal crust.

  • Brown butter pumpkin pie

    • ricki on December 22, 2018

      Everyone loved this. Flavors are subtle and deep, with more pumpkin and butterscotch than spices. We didn't strain, and the texture was fine. Too much filling for my 11-cup Cuisinart; next time will mix by hand after blending the butterscotch into the pumpkin. Makes one very deep 9-inch pie; mine was not deep enough so used leftover filling in a 9" French tart pan, which cooked in about 25 minutes.

  • Black bottom oatmeal pie

    • cespitler on December 04, 2016

      I cannot tell you how amazing the Salty Honey Pie is! I've made it twice and both times almost everyone went back for second servings immediately! You can grab the recipe here. I've been lucky enough to feature honey from my own hive. http://southbrooklynpost...pie-mavens-share-recipe/ And, for this year's work holiday party I made the Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie. Folks loved the black bottom, but the reviews were mixed. I may have made it too close to Thanksgiving so folks were coming off of family favorite Pecan Pies. I would make this again at a different time a year. Both of these called for the All-Butter Crust, which is a great recipe on it's own. It bakes up really nice and garnered its own compliments.

  • Black bottom lemon pie

    • Astrid5555 on March 18, 2018

      I really loved the chocolate and Meyer lemon combination. However I had some issues with my filling not setting properly in the center of the pie so it resembled a lemon lake in the middle. I think I made a mistake when incorporating the lemon and orange juices into the egg & sugar mixture, which was very liquid after mixing everything together.

    • trudys_person on February 27, 2015

      I thought this might be a strange combination, but it is wonderful! I made it with a fruity 65% dark chocolate (Cacao Barry Inaya), and the balance was perfect.

    • EmilyR on June 17, 2018

      I've been to Four + Twenty in Brooklyn and it's excellent. I have a lot of meyer lemons so this recipe seemed fitting. It was a good recipe, but not one that I'll crave or likely make again. I reduced the sugar by 1/3 cup, which may have slightly altered the consistency, but I didn't want it to be overly sweet. There was a bit left over for some ramekins of custard.

  • Maple lime custard pie

    • mtlevinson on January 25, 2014

      Would love to know why this tasty sounding recipe was only about a 4/5 on a 1-10 scale? The bakery makes their own pecan biscotti for the crust but in their cookbook, they have you use lady fingers, pecans and butter. Pretty bland and the filling was not robust enough for my taste.

  • All-butter crust

    • mrshalf on November 01, 2017

      I've practiced this pie crust recipe at least thirty times. I still wouldn't say it's perfect. The easiest I've found so far is the Milk Street no shrink recipe because it's food processor easy. This all butter one though - it's my nemesis. I'll make it perfectly one day, mwahahaha

    • Astrid5555 on January 25, 2014

      Truth be told I have always been scared of baking pie. Will the dough crack when rolling it out, will it be flaky enough, will the bottom be soggy, will I like it after having spent a few hours preparing the pie? Finally, I found my dough! This recipe yields an incredibly flaky dough, easy to roll out and absolutely delicious. My new go-to recipe!

    • Melanie on May 31, 2014

      This crust worked pretty well although I was in a rush and had some difficulties rolling it out. I'll refrigerate overnight next time.

    • cespitler on December 04, 2016

      I cannot tell you how amazing the Salty Honey Pie is! I've made it twice and both times almost everyone went back for second servings immediately! You can grab the recipe here. I've been lucky enough to feature honey from my own hive. http://southbrooklynpost...pie-mavens-share-recipe/ And, for this year's work holiday party I made the Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie. Folks loved the black bottom, but the reviews were mixed. I may have made it too close to Thanksgiving so folks were coming off of family favorite Pecan Pies. I would make this again at a different time a year. Both of these called for the All-Butter Crust, which is a great recipe on it's own. It bakes up really nice and garnered its own compliments.

  • Cornmeal crust

    • Astrid5555 on February 22, 2014

      Another easy-to-work-with, foolproof pie crust with a nice crunch from the cornmeal.

  • Oat crumble topping & crust

    • Astrid5555 on March 31, 2014

      Very quick and easy to work with. Makes a nice crunchy crust for custard pies.

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Reviews about this book

  • Everyday Annie

    ...it is a treasure, both in inspiring, unique recipes and lovely photos. Perfect for the baker in your life.

    Full review
  • Serious Eats

    For its thought-provoking combinations of ingredients and straightforward, educative tone, (it) is a worthwhile selection for both novice and seasoned pie-makers seeking to expand their repertoire.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 1455520519
  • ISBN 13 9781455520510
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 31 2013
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 256
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Little, Brown & Company
  • Imprint Grand Central Publishing

Publishers Text

FOUR & TWENTY BLACKBIRDS PIE BOOK is by Melissa and Emily Elsen, the sisters who are third generation pie bakers from South Dakota and proprietors of the wildly popular Brooklyn Pie Shop and Cafe, Four & Twenty Blackbirds. The cookbook contains over sixty delectable pie recipes organized by season, with groundbreaking and mouthwatering pie combinations such as Salted Caramel Apple, Green Chili Chocolate, Black Currant Lemon Chiffon, and Salty Honey. There is also a detailed and stunning techniques section. The book has numerous photos and illustrations of the Elsen sisters' beautiful creations. And the photographers are Gentl & Hyer, two of the best food photographers in the country today. Pie may be the ultimate comfort food in these recessionary homemade times. This may not be your mother's pie book, but it's one you'll want to bake from and share with loved ones again and again.

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