Customer Review

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book of pies, November 6, 2013
This review is from: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop (Hardcover)
A year or more ago I saw a posting online for their Salty Honey Pie ([...] and had wanted to make it, but never got around to it. When I saw they were coming out with a book I immediately pre-ordered it. When it arrived I excitedly made the Salty Honey Pie. In the book it tells you to preheat the oven to 375 and then bake it for 45-50 minutes, rotating the pie around 30 minutes. When I went to rotate the pie it was so dark, much darker than their picture, and almost burnt looking. And I still had at least 15 minutes to go! I turned the oven down to 350F and pulled it out a little early worried that it would be too badly burnt on top (it still ended up being amazingly delicious). When I cross-referenced the online article I noticed that the recipe said to preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 45-60 minutes and they never mentioned rotating it. I also noticed that their ordering of how to mix and add the ingredients was different, but I don't know if this really matters. Anyway, I can't say for certain whether the oven temperature is a mistake or just further editing of the recipe 2 years after putting it online, but either way next time I'm going to try baking this pie at 350F.

That said, I love this book. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes are interesting. I love apple pie and cherry pie, but I want more than that. Cranberry Sage Pie! Salt Pork and Apple Pie! Lemon Sour Cream Pie! If you're looking for your standard classics then this isn't the book for you, but if you want to try something new and different or a modified classic (Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Strawberry Balsamic Pie, etc...) then I would say this book is worth getting. They also include some nice information on pie making techniques, how to make a lattice top, and so forth. A lot of baking cookbooks will include that information as well, but I always like to see how other people approach baking and their thoughts on techniques.

So, as an overall summary: I definitely recommend this book and think you should buy it, but also keep an eye on your pies as they cook in the oven.

Update 11.12.13.
I made the Cranberry Sage Pie last night and I can't say that I was much of a fan. I still think that the oven temperature was too hot (425F for 20 minutes and then lowered to 375F for 45 minutes) so I ended up doing it at 375F and then lowering it to 350F. The sage component of the pie didn't work for me, which was my biggest issue with the pie. I loved the tartness of the cranberries and the consistency was good so I will probably make this pie again and leave out the sage.

Also, quite of few of their recipes have been found online so if you're on the fence about the book try some of those first. (Food 52 has three recipes listed and some others are found on various blogs if you do a search for their recipes.)
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2013 10:52:09 AM PST
joshwa says:
Have you checked the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer (or 2)? The built-in thermostats can drift over time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2013 11:17:50 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2013 11:18:00 AM PST
I do have an oven thermometer that's not built-in. It's more than 5 years old, so maybe it's time to get a new one?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2013 11:35:47 AM PST
joshwa says:
Yes, they do tend to drift over time, especially the cheaper ones. I also put a baking stone in the bottom of the oven to help even out some hot spots and reduce heat loss from opening the oven door.

Posted on Jan 17, 2014 3:14:31 PM PST
glassyide says:
I doubt the problem is the oven. Those temperatures sound very hot to me if you're going to bake a pie for that long. Thanks for the tip about the online recipes. Sounds like a good plan to try those first before buying another cookbook that might just collect dust.

Posted on Jan 25, 2014 3:16:23 PM PST
T. Levinson says:
I was also very excited about trying a new-sounding recipe - Maple Lime Custard Pie. Overall, pretty disappointing. The pie crust calls for lady fingers (which I haven't bought in years- boy they're bland and 3 bucks!). The recipe instructs you to bake the crust for 14 min at 375. I know my oven temp was correct and luckily I checked the crust at 8 min and it was borderline too brown at the edges. The filling calls for 8 oz of Grade B maple syrup (9 bucks). My point is the pie cost was at least 15 bucks and did not "pay off" flavor wise.
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