Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book Preview (and a Recipe for Lavender Blueberry Pie)

Lavender Blueberry Pie2Blueberries are thoroughly abundant right now, so when a preview for Emily and Melissa Elsen’s blueberry lavender pie from The Four & Twenty Blackbird Pie Book due out this September came across our desks, we took to begging.

Luckily, the sisters and proprietors of the eponymous shop ..and café in Gowanus stopped the groveling and were super kind enough to share it, so you can get cooking now while the berries are, well, ripe for the picking,

The Elsen’s are third-generation pie bakers, and their upcoming 60-recipe book, will school you in their way with salted caramel pie, green chili chocolate pie, and rum-laden egg n’ grog pie — we’ll definitely be putting this on our shelves this autumn. Until then…


Lavender Blueberry Pie

All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch double-crust pie:

1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup ice

Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.

1. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).

2. Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or bowl.

3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated.

4. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.

5. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.

6. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.

7. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

For the Filling:

1 small baking apple
5 to 6 cups blueberries (about 2 pounds fresh)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 to 3 small drops food-grade lavender oil (see page 41 for source)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar, for finishing

1. Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan and pastry round or lattice to top.

2. Peel and then shred the apple on the large holes of a box grater.

3. Combine with the blueberries, lemon juice, granulated and brown sugars, arrowroot, allspice, salt, lavender oil, and bitters in a large bowl and stir until well mixed, crushing some of the blueberries in the process (your hands work great for this).

4. Pour the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, arrange the lattice or pastry round on top, and crimp as desired.

5. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry.

6. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.

7. Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat; if your pie has a lattice top, be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn).

8. Sprinkle with the desired amount of Demerara sugar.

9. Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.

10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown.

11. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 30 to 35 minutes longer.

12. Cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

Amy Zavatto

Amy Zavatto is the daughter of an old school Italian butcher who used to sell bay scallops alongside steaks, and is also the former Deputy Editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She holds her Level III Certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and contributes to Imbibe, Whisky Advocate, SOMMJournal,, and others. She is the author of Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients and The Architecture of the Cocktail. She's stomped around vineyards from the Finger Lakes to the Loire Valley and toured distilleries everywhere from Kentucky to Jalisco to the Highlands of Scotland. When not doing all those other things, Amy is the Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance.


Leave a Reply