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The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  395 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
From the proprietors of the renowned Brooklyn shop and cafe comes the ultimate pie-baking book for a new generation of bakers.

Melissa and Emily Elsen, the twenty-something sisters who are proprietors of the wildly popular Brooklyn pie shop and cafe Four & Twenty Blackbirds, have put together a pie-baking book that's anything but humble. This stunning collection feature
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published January 1st 2013)
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Dec 27, 2013 Cecelia rated it it was amazing
For years, pie was one of those things I was intimidated by. Why? It’s a marquee holiday dessert, easy to get wrong (the crust!), and the whole process is fairly long and labor-intensive. I got over that fear thanks to my best friend’s aunt – she took a day and demystified pie for us two aspiring bakers in her large, sunny kitchen. These days, Thanksgiving isn’t complete if I haven’t made three pies.

That said, I wasn’t in a hurry to branch out from the exact technique Aunt Laura taught us. UNTI
Laurel Bradshaw
Mar 18, 2014 Laurel Bradshaw rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, pie
This is a WOW book for me, and one that I just might have to purchase, since I want to make every pie in the book! So why "only" 4 stars? Mostly just to caution readers that this is probably not a pie book for beginners. Yes, there are detailed instructions given, but I found them just a bit overly fussy. (Seriously? Chilling the pie crust dough at three different steps of construction?) Experienced bakers will know where they can take shortcuts. Also, many of the recipes call for some rather es ...more
Nov 10, 2014 ItsAboutTheBook rated it really liked it
Shelves: faye, cookbooks
Review can be read at It's About The Book

I fell in love with this book before I bought it. I came across the recipe for Salty Honey pie on a food blog and had ordered the book before the pie was fully baked and out of the oven. I am a very adventurous eater and love the recipes that push the boundaries of what we currently consider the usual dessert flavors. Whereas you will see cinnamon spicing up a fruit pie, you’re also likely to encounter paprika and white pepper. Custards are flavored w
Jun 08, 2017 Claire rated it really liked it
Recipes tried: basic pastry (good), regular rhubarb pie (very good), rhubarb raspberry square pie (good flavor, don't get the point of it being square. Too hard to serve.)
Planning to make grapefruit custard pie eventually.
Jun 19, 2017 Wanda rated it liked it
At least one crust that I think I can do gluten-free. Must try the peach pie and rhubarb custard pie.
Autumn Garner
Jun 18, 2014 Autumn Garner rated it really liked it
I love to bake and I love a really great story, so this cookbook was perfect for me. The layout of the instructions and the amount of detail these two women put into the book are astonishing. If you aren't a baker and would like to be, I would start with this book solely for the guides and resources it provides.

The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because these recipes are truly "unusual". There are maybe three recipes in there that I would actually consider making and the rest ar
Feb 03, 2014 Becca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I thought I'd never say this, but this book has converted me into a pie crust lover! Even other family members who hate pie crust were converted with me. I checked it out from the library and after baking four pies, bought it for myself to keep!
Jul 11, 2015 benquick rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
A pie crust that I couldn't mess up. Fantastic.
Aug 15, 2015 Netts rated it it was ok

There are major issues with the recipes. Example: the basic crust recipe calls for a cup and a quarter of liquid (water mixed with cider vinegar) PLUS one cup of ice (which will partially melt resulting in even more liquid). It does tell you to add it gradually but if you add anything near that amount to your pie crust you'll be making pie batter, not dough. Even 1/3 of the liquid was too much IMO. It's wasteful and very misleading for novice bakers. The dough is easy to work with
Sep 16, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Pie is probably my favorite desert, and this book is full of completely mouth-watering recipes. I wanted to try every single pie in this book!

This book isn't for amateurs - the recipes are complicated, and most feature a pretty long list of ingredients - often including at least one item that isn't at most chain grocery stores. They do include a lot of helpful tips, and substitutions wherever possible. Most of these recipes are fairly time-consuming too - they'd be more special-occasion recipes
Ashley Katsuyama
Mar 28, 2014 Ashley Katsuyama rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking
Gorgeous book. Dare I say coffee table worthy even. The recipes and intros are written really well and explain the intricacies of proper pie baking simply and directly. I loved the overall feel.

The book definitely caters to a more refined, hipper palette (they are in Brooklyn after all), which meant that a lot of the more spiced or boozy recipes didn't work for me, as half my cooking audience is under 5. But the one pie I have made thus far was delicious and will definitely be made again.

Jun 28, 2014 Mugga rated it really liked it
It's been years since I bought Ken Haedrich's "Pie" and nothing will ever replace it. But I've lost a little pie mojo lately and I needed a little inspiration so with incredible restraint I put this book back on the shelf at the Booksmith and borrowed from the library. Could an old pie maker learn any new tricks? Yes. Yes, she could.

The basic crust recipe, which is all butter, was extremely well behaved. It was the easiest and least frustrating lattice top I've ever made. I was also introduced
Feb 07, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
there were many of these pies that i will attempt to make. but i thought that many of them were too extensive and many of the ingredients were ones that would not be easy to find or readily available. i thought wow that sounds interesting but then i would see that the instructions were more than one page and then i thought uhhhh not that is too much work. i also did not like the fact that the crust recipes were in the back of the book i realize that it saves time and space in the book but it was ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, wish-list
this book filled an hour of my afternoon with visions of unusual pie flavor combinations made mostly from everyday ingredients. the layout and instructions are pleasantly simple, with pictures of almost every pie. several ideas for changing up the crust either by ingredient or appearance for fun finishing touches are included. i liked the seasonal order to the recipes, since it follows what our taste buds seem to want, and really really appreciated that the flavor twists were accomplished with i ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Susanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, cookbooks
Granted, so far I have only made two pies from this book - the Rhubarb Pie on page 76 and the Strawberry Balsamic Pie on page 80 - but both of those were very well received by my family. Frankly, they were super delicious and looked great. Furthermore, I would like to make almost every single pie recipe in this book, and since I borrowed it from the library and the time has come to return it, I think I will buy this one rather than just copy a few recipes. Although some of the recipes are not fo ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
I was skeptical at first; the authors use several ingredients I don't, like arrowroot and potato starch, and put bitters in everything... Flavors include 'plumble', salt pork apple and chocolate with green chili, and I just didn't know how to think about those. BUT-- then I made the lemon chess pie and now I am a believer. It was easy to put together and explained simply but thoroughly. And it was delicious, one of the best pies I've ever had. I can't wait to try more recipes.
Pat Buzby
Dec 27, 2013 Pat Buzby rated it liked it
I love most cookbooks and this one did not disappoint. Any cookbook about Brooklyn is a good one, though I almost never get there I still feel that since my mother was born there and her mother came there from Ireland, its a part of me. This was a gift from another NJ girl who actually grew in the best NY borough and I enjoy it. The photos are very homey and the rustic pie I immediately made and enjoyed. This is my version of a coffee table book.
Shannon Daigle
Jan 17, 2014 Shannon Daigle rated it really liked it
Every recipe I tried from this book was delicious. If you're going to try them, though, be warned that you should have a watchful eye on your pie and not so much of a literal eye on the recipe instructions. Sure, the measurements for the pie ingredients turn out a lovely and tasty pie, but often the baking times/resting times are a bit off. As long as you're a remotely experienced home baker, you will get the hang of it, and it's well worth the effort!
Jan 24, 2014 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This cookbook tells the story of how and why this Brooklyn pie shop came into existence. If you have never attempted making homemade pie crust they walk you through each and every step. And, there are recipes for other types of crusts. Their pies are a bit savory, I prefer the traditional flavors in pies, but this is a great book read on a cold winter's night. Oh, and the chapters are setup by season which is a terrific idea.
Jan 04, 2014 Daisy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Avra, Eric Z.
Shelves: cookbooks
I haven't tried any of the recipes yet.
I wish I owned this. It's so beautifully organized, it's satisfying to read. Chapters are separated into seasons and there's one on crust. You know you'll easily find whatever you're looking for if you use this for reference.
Pie crust intimidates me. I want this book.
Janise Bennett
Aug 10, 2015 Janise Bennett rated it really liked it
I thoroughly gushed over each recipe, but haven't baked anything yet. I am thinking Shoo Fly Pie will be my first! I love the variations and originality of the recipes, and the reassurance that these are being made and sold somewhere, not just someone throwing some ideas together that are going to be a disaster int he kitchen or on the plate.
Oct 22, 2013 Frances rated it it was amazing
Absolutely gorgeous book with delicious and unique pies. I especially appreciate the fact that they've organized their recipes by season, which helps to really remind me when to go out and buy rhubarb.

The strawberry-rhubarb pie was absolutely delicious, and the crust was light and easy to work with. Can't wait to make every single other pie in this stunningly beautiful book.
Sweta Agrawal
Feb 16, 2015 Sweta Agrawal rated it it was amazing
great cookbook! So many recipes I can't wait to try. Just made two different pies from the book, and both were overall very simple to follow, though pretty sure the crist pre baking instructions are pretty off. good combo of spices in the plumble!
Brindi Michele
If you love making pies from scratch, this is definitely the cookbook for you. Perfect gift for the pie-lover. and the photos are gorgeous! drooling over each page. really like the use of local and fresh produce, therefore having seasonal pies. great variety, too.
Mar 14, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
Reading up for PI day!
Aug 08, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, 2014
This cookbook offers recipes by season and great chapters on techniques and sourcing.
Jul 16, 2014 Rebekah rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful cookbook. The recipes are separated into seasons to encourage baking with fresh produce, which is nice, and made me crave cranberries and grapefruit in the middle of July.
Nov 25, 2015 Lucylu57 rated it really liked it
Haven't tried too many recipes from this one yet, but so far they're good.
Rachel Coyne
Oct 12, 2013 Rachel Coyne rated it it was amazing
Oh yum! Oh yum - black-bottom oatmeal pie.
Feb 01, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it
I haven't had a chance to actually try any of the recipes yet, but I. Can't. Wait. They look gorgeous and I love that they're organized seasonally.
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