The new Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, written by Emily and Melissa Elsen who run the Brooklyn pie shop of the same name, covers essential pie-making techniques that range from lattice-carving to shaping a crust from animal crackers.
But the fillings steal the show. The Elsen’s divide their pies by season, painting evocative portraits in pastry. Spring means rhubarb, apple-rose, and lemon-sour cream, and summer brings salted melon and paprika-peach. Come fall, the sisters explore richer flavors: salted caramel-apple, concord grape, black walnut, and brown butter-pumpkin. The winter chapter includes a custard pie based on the flavors of eggnog and a dark chocolate confection seasoned with spicy green chiles.
There, too, is the salt pork-apple pie that an early employee discovered in a vintage cookbook and refined to its current state. The Elsens may not be from the South, but they’d be welcome at any bake sale in Dixie with this sweet-and-salty treat.