This cookbook is fast becoming one of my favorites. Written by Emily and Melissa Elsen, the two sisters who started and run the Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop, this great collection showcases and breaks down the slices that can be found daily in the Brooklyn-based shop.
With rustic fruit, nut, and custard pies that look as flaky and crumbly as anything, this book is as inspiring as it is accessible. The beauty here is in the baking; in the mess, the splatters, and the raw ingredients. There are 70 pages of basic techniques with instructional photos to match, which cover things like how to make all-butter crusts, pistachio creams, and shaving chocolate.
It puts a great deal of focus on where the ingredients are sourced from, emphasizing local suppliers. Because of this, the recipes are organized by season, and each pie is a reflection of the ingredients best available at the time. This leads to some creative and interesting flavor combinations, such as Chamomile Lavender, Salty Honey, Grapefruit Custard Pie, and Lemon Verbena Raspberry Galette.
Not only do the pies look fantastic, they are simple, imperfect, and they make you want to start baking right then and there. I'd really like to take a trip out to the pie shop and try the real stuff. Until then, I guess I'll settle on making my own.
Good pie book? Great pie book.