A few days ago I was thinking about my grandfather’s chess pies and searching for recipes. I found a few websites that waxed poetic over a famous pie bakery in Brooklyn, New York known for their delicious chess pies. Four & Twenty Blackbirds also has a very well received cookbook
I’ve been waiting all week for The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book to arrive from Amazon and it’s FINALLY here!
The reviews were off the charts! The book is everything they said it would be: beautiful, glossy coffee table book-style photos, detailed and unusual recipes- it’s a well-written cookbook.
ANYWAY- I started the pie making endeavors with the Rhubarb Custard pie. Things went well until I realized all of my pie pans were missing- so I had to improvise with a Corelle round pan and a cake tin for the pies.
Rhubarb Custard was an unusual recipe- an oatmeal cookie type crust, a layer of rhubarb jam, and a delicately spiced creamy custard layer on top. Next time I will try it with a real pie pan!
I also hit another snag when I ran out of already ground cinnamon- so I had to dig out my cinnamon sticks from their jar and HAND GRIND them with a mortar and pestle… *that* was a pain in the ass.
The second pie I made was the Buttermilk Chess Pie (probably the reason why I bought this book). I had problems with it, as I had to rush the process (because I had to take my mother somewhere- she has early dementia and showed up BY HERSELF in her van- not something she generally does anymore). I didn’t prebake the crust long enough and didn’t bake the custard long enough- still set, though- and still delicious. It just wasn’t attractive once plated.
After pie #2, I went out and purchased some pyrex pie pans.
The THIRD pie I made today was the Lemon Chess Pie, which is a huge seller per the store’s website. I browned it a bit too long, but it turned out well. The pie custard itself contained heavy cream, lemon and orange juice, melted butter, etc… very decadent. I will admit that I SUCK at pie edge crimping, so there’s that ugliness. I need to watch some youtube tutorials soon, I think. I haven’t tried this pie yet, though. I was pie-d out by the time this one was done.
I also found 5 lb boxes of local blueberries on sale for $10.00, so blueberry pie will definitely be in my future.
I *will* master the Art of Pie. This is my new goal. I’m a really skilled cook- I just can’t bake worth a shit. I have no patience. I am going to force myself to love this and learn this.