Brooklyn hot spots

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie

Aug 19, 2013

By Elyssa Goodman

“What are you doing today?” my roommate asked me.

“I’m going to Brooklyn to eat pie,” I said. I love my job.

I’m sure a sane person doesn’t travel an hour for a slice of pie, but that’s not really an adjective that’s been used to describe me. Besides, if you’ve ever had a slice of pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, you’d travel that long, too.

Nestled in the Gowanus neighborhood, Four & Twenty Blackbirds specializes in pie, as its nursery-rhyme-referencing name would suggest. Founded by sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen in 2010, the smallBrooklynpie shop has quickly risen to fame, featured in outlets such as the Food Network, The New York Times, and New York Magazine, among many others. The shop uses local and organic ingredients when possible; they also preserve many of their own summer fruits and steer clear of refined sugars, instead opting for natural sweeteners like honey and molasses. A variety of pies are baked fresh daily and made with seasonal ingredients, so the menu changes daily.

I first heard about Four and Twenty Blackbirds a few years ago, but didn’t actually get a chance to go until this past spring. With two fellow pie lovers, Dan and Diane, in tow, we trekked from BAM to Gowanus and settled down with our slices of pie. My favorite, hands down, was Dan’s—a salty honey pie with a custard base that, upon purchase the clerk told Dan, “it will change your life.” Though I have now tasted this slice of pie months ago, I still remember the creamy, sweet way the filling melted in my mouth, leaving a salty flick on my tongue as it disappeared. I definitely had an emotional issue when I realized it was all gone. Well, not really. But sort of.

Today I returned to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, thinking I might have another slice of the soft, sweet, salty deliciousness, but it wasn’t on the menu for the day. Though I was very nearly heartbroken, I instead decided to opt for a slice of wild ginger strawberry pie. I had never eaten a strawberry pie of any variety, so why not start with wild ginger? I picked up my pie at the counter with my extra dollop of fresh, homemade whipped cream spatulaed directly onto my plate from the canister where it slept. The dough woven on top of the pie was sprinkled with a flowery, cardamom infused ginger. The filling was reddish pink with tangy, soft strawberries that fell apart in my mouth, seeds kissing my palate. I affixed the whipped cream to every forkful possible, making it a frothy, fluffy, tangy concoction I wished would never end. Even as I sit here writing in the shop, chalked blackboards above me telling me the daily specials and tin fleur-de-lis walls standing around me, I have trouble looking at my nearly empty plate and not wiping my fingers through the remains to snatch any last gram of flavor. Wait, hold on one second…

Like I said, sanity is not my game. But if you happen to be in Gowanus, or even if you do not, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is without a doubt worth a trip. Who knew a slice of heaven would only cost $5.25 (with an extra 10 cents for fresh whipped cream)?

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