In case you haven’t heard, pie mecca Four & Twenty Blackbirds opened a new location today at the Brooklyn Public Library. They’re taking over the BPL’s café space and turning into a full-service food spot, with chefs from The Pines and Vinegar Hill House, but most importantly, will be serving slices of their famous pies. So in honor of Pi(e) Day, and in celebration of this long-awaited expansion, the Four & Twenty pie makers got together to bring you a list of pie & book pairings for your first trip to their new branch.
Like the way a good varietal balances a sharp cheese, or the sometimes-winning combinations of beers and brats, these pairs will delight the palate and kindle the imagination (Pun intended… but for the love of paperbacks and a good old-fashioned library, save those e-readers for the morning commute)!
Salty Honey & The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (A.A. Milne)
“Kid-friendly but with a big grown-up following, the Salty Honey pie has something for everyone—and there’s no better honey-lover than Winnie The Pooh! The slice is like a little midday adventure in the Hundred Acre Wood: It always has a sweet ending, even if there are some salty trails along the way. We can all identify with that.”
Stone Fruit Pie & Madeleine is Sleeping (Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum)
“I can tell when a book is really affecting me because it gives me an appetite for something. This one made me want jams and sticky-sweet fruits like the ones in our Stone Fruit pie. We make stone fruit pies when we’re deep into summer, when there’s almost too much fruit—and there’s something about the fleeting abundance of summer that makes me come back to this book, just to experience the layers all over again.”
Apple Rose & The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
“The rosewater in our Apple Rose pie gives it a mystical flavor, and it’s definitely an acquired taste—much like Mary Lennox’s personality in The Secret Garden. But those who can tap into the subtlety of this slice, which sits just beyond the conventional, have entered a space to which few have access. They also probably think the soul of their mother is in that bird over there.”
Honey Rosemary Shoofly & Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
“This two-layer twist on shoofly pie is topsy-turvy and terrific! With a jelly-like honey custard on the bottom and a coffee & rosemary spiced, cake-like consistency on top, it’s got a Wonderland feel. The seeming nonsense really comes together, so you end up with something delicious and whimsical. Our shoofly is truly ‘down the rabbit-hole': read, eat, repeat.”
Salted Caramel Apple Pie & Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
“Because it contains this fabulous quote:
‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.’”
There are at least a dozen flavors on their current winter menu not listed here, so it’s worth making the trip over to the library (and maybe even deciding on a pairing for yourself). Catch them today (and from now on) at the BPL’s Central Library off the 2/3 at Grand Army Plaza. But don’t worry if you love them in Gowanus: their main location on 3rd avenue & 8th Street isn’t going anywhere.
(Special thank to pie makers Henry, Maggie, Rica and Emily for their suggestions)