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The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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"The pies we tasted from Four & Twenty Blackbirds were so satisfying and deliriously delicious that they left every other pie we sampled in the dust" --Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
"Emily and Melissa Elsen make pies the way nobody makes pies anymore but everybody used to, which is to say, pies that are buttery and always right for the season and hard to stop eating. It's a score they've decided to share the recipes that put them on the map."-- Frank Falcinelli & Frank Castronovo Chef/Owners of Frankies Spuntino and Prime Meats and authors of Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion
About the Author
Melissa and Emily Elsen are sisters who were raised in South Dakota and worked in their parents' restaurant. They "have serious pie-making cred having grown up at the dough rolling elbow of their grandma Liz." (New York Magazine).
After pursuing different careers in their early adulthood, they built a business in Brooklyn, originally custom baking pies together in their Brooklyn apartment, and eventually opening 4 & 20 Blackbirds Cafe, which has been featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart and in other great food media.
Top customer reviews
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When I called the store to question the recipes, they confirmed that there were errors in the book, and then told me of a third pie recipe that had problems. The book is beautiful -- the Rhuby Razz Pie is divine. I only wish more care had been taken in proofreading the recipes...
Pie crusts are notoriously 'flaky' (!) to make in a home kitchen (they're usually too warm so you are constantly juggling the rolling part by tossing the crust back in the refrigerator or freezer if you can't work quickly. It's understandable that people shy away from making them. The above being said, for the photos on how to make the perfect crust and the step by step lattice methods alone this book is worth it because an online recipe won't go into that kind of detail. While adding vinegar to crusts and savory pastries like potato knish dough is nothing new I do love their idea of using apple cider vs white vinegar. I'm always asked how I make my crusts. Instead I give friends who won't go near baking an afternoon lesson with me and buy them the book and toss in a Berenbaoum's pie plate and a bench scraper and they're in business. I just wish they'd acknowledge the temps and times for home or convection ovens might be off and I wish they used gram weights in addition to the cup measures... it's only slightly more work for them to do the conversion and its the 'professional' way to measure your recipes consistently.
For those just starting out do use the crusts as a galette instead of a pie- you don't even need a pie tin- just a flat oven tray- so simple and they are just as tasty and gorgeous as the lattice- I tend to think that for the 'unfussy' look the galette is perfect- then you can make two crusts and serve twelve. Definitely try their varieties of crusts: chocolate and gingersnap are particularly good.
Each recipe has anecdotes and hints to make sure it turns out well. The photos are beautiful! Hopefully they will come out with another book soon!