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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  688 ratings  ·  50 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
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  688 ratings  ·  50 reviews


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Cecelia
Dec 27, 2013 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
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Laurel Bradshaw
Mar 18, 2014 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
ItsAboutTheBook
Nov 10, 2014 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
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Ditchface
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food
Although the inspiration and flavour ideas in this book are great, the instructions are pretty poor. I’ve been a home baker 10+ years, but following their recipes just didn’t yield good results on multiple occasions. The Elsen sisters enthusiasm for pie is wonderful to read, but their instinct for baking perhaps left the recipes I tried lacking the kind of helpful tips and explanation that really make a difference to someone who didn’t grow up making pies. Last grievance: cups are an infuriating ...more
Claire
Jun 08, 2017 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.
Wanda
Jun 19, 2017 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.
emily
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book just gifted me not only my new favorite pie, but my family's new must-have Thanksgiving pie, and my ultimate favorite pie crust recipe. I've wanted this book for a couple of years and I'm so glad I finally have it.
Autumn Garner
Jun 18, 2014 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
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Becca
Feb 03, 2014 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!
benquick
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
A pie crust that I couldn't mess up. Fantastic.
Madigan Mirza
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Not for the neophyte pie-baker, this collection of upscale desserts is arranged seasonally, as the authors recommend cooking with fresh, local, in-season ingredients. Dripping with haughty pretension, the book includes many unusual flavor combinations. A dash of Angostura bitters seems to be the sisters' secret ingredient, featured in many recipes. Other ingredients seem plenty obscure (hand foraged wild ginger from Vermont, anyone?) but through "the miracle of cold storage" (huh, us plebes woul ...more
Jodi Geever
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love pie. I *love* pie. I wanted to have peach pie in lieu of wedding cake. Get it? Okay. But I am terrified of making crust. And many store bought crusts use lard, and my husband is a vegetarian. So I picked this book up because it was recommended for folks who enjoyed Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which I did. When I read the reviews (yes, before I read the book) numerous home bakers admitted to being afraid of constructing crust too, until they learned the technique divulged in this b ...more
Libby
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is my Holy Grail of pie cookbooks. Probably not for beginners and the spice profile tends to be similar from pie to pie, but just knocks it out of the park as far as I'm concerned. Special mention to the raspberry rhubarb pie and the oat crust recipe.

Be aware that some of the recipes do omit sugar, which was an accident. I think they might have fixed it in new editions? Anyway, for those add 1/3 cup white sugar and you should be golden. Also, you're not going to need all the liquid specifi
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Angela
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for novelty and classic pies - there are step by step instructions for everything including what items you must have to be successful in the prep, how to for excellent pie crust - even how to roll it out. Honestly, I don't even like buying pies anymore because this book has taught me how to make pies that are better than anything I've ever tasted at the store. It's not a humble brag, I give all the credit to this book!
Kate W
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Outstanding and unusual pie recipes. Their pear-bourbon pie is a favorite. Highly recommended!
Mairzi
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas in many of the recipes and beautiful illustrations but many of the recipes are lacking specificity which can caause confusion.
Jacqueline Redmond
Great pie book!

Loved how it was set out in seasons! It was really easy to follow along and the recipes were well written.
Jennie
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The pie crust alone is worth the price of admission. The sweet cherry struesel pie is heaven in a plate.
Trish
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of yummy pie recipes. These ladies really know their stuff when it comes to making pies. There are pictures of each pie recipe.
Netts
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Disappointing.

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
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Laura
Sep 16, 2014 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
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Ashley Katsuyama
Mar 28, 2014 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.

**Okay
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Mugga
Jun 28, 2014 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
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Heather
Apr 24, 2015 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
Susanne
Jun 05, 2014 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
Lisa
Feb 07, 2014 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
Shannon Daigle
Jan 17, 2014 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!
Pat Buzby
Dec 27, 2013 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.
Kathryn
Jan 24, 2014 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.
Sarah
Feb 09, 2015 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.
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