What else do you do on a Sunday after brunch if you’re a dessert blogger? That’s right, it’s time to find some pie. A friend of mine suggested Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which I had been wanting to check out for awhile. Some of her favorites: pear-apple-rosewater, grapefruit custard (inconceivable!), and Derby pie. She also loves the bread, but who cares? I wanted PIE! F&TB is found on a lonely stretch of 3rd Avenue, in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Its lovely little black and white old-timey storefront is like a desert oasis. A chalkboard sign out front made us panic: peach, salted caramel apple, and apple blackberry were all crossed off, leaving nectarine blueberry and lemon chess. We dashed inside and quickly ordered one of each at $4.50 a slice. No nectarines, by the way, just blueberry:
Now, I have to say that I’m not a big fan of blueberries for much the same reason that I’m not a big fan of raisins– I can’t stand the darn stems that often remain intact in cookies and pies. This slice of blueberry pie was astoundingly good, however. The fruit was vibrantly fresh tasting and not too sweet, and the crust had a lovely raw sugar top that complemented the filling perfectly. And a little dollop of unsweetened whipped cream was just the perfect accompaniment.
I had never had lemon chess pie, so I was very curious. Chess pies are apparently a Southern sugary custard pie made with corn meal. No one seems to know the origin of the name. Perhaps it’s from keeping it in a chest or from saying that it’s “‘jes pie,” as opposed to cake or something. Whatever it is, this slice was quite good, but not as amazing as the blueberry. The lemon flavor was very delicate and it wasn’t overly sweet at all. My only problem with it was that it was a bit soggy, but that was really probably due to the fact that it was 80 degrees in there. I guess they don’t have AC?
While we were eating our spoils, a huge group of tourists/vultures came in and snapped up the rest of the lemon chess pie, and under “PIES:,” the in-store chalkboard soon read “♥ Blueberry.” It was only about 4pm, and they were almost out of everything. But that’s really the way every bakery should be. The fact that they run out of stuff means that their stock is always fresh. Well done, proprietresses Melissa and Emily Elsen, now that my G-train is running all the way to 4th Ave., I’ll be visiting your shop again soon!Four & Twenty Blackbirds
439 3rd Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215
Note: you can’t buy whole pies on the spot– you have to call ahead and place an order with 48 hours’ notice.