RECIPE: 2 Summer Pies From Four & Twenty Blackbirds

The sweet sisters behind the beloved pie shop shared two recipes from their book and now we’re even more eager for the arrival of peaches and corn.

TheFour&TwentyBlackbirdsPieBook_covermodified

If you’ve read our feature on the Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in our current issue, then you might be ready to roll up your sleeves and roll out some dough. Well, you’re in luck. The sweet sisters shared two recipes from their book and now we’re even more eager for the arrival of peaches and corn.

To really replicate their flavors, get your ingredients from Wilklow Orchards at the Greenmarket, or even take a trip up to their Hudson Valley Farm to pick your own.

Paprika Peach Pie modified

Paprika Peach Pie

Makes 1 pie

All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch double-crust pie (see below)
2½ pounds peaches (enough for about 5 cups sliced)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 dashes Old Fashion bitters
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar, for finishing

To assemble the pie:
1. Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan and pastry round or lattice to top (double-crust recipe below).

2. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Have ready a large bowl of ice water.

3. Score an X into the bottom of each peach, and then drop it into the simmering water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove and immediately drop into the ice water.

4. When the fruit has cooled slightly, the skin should slip off easily when scraped with the back of a knife.

5. Slice the peeled peaches into ½-inch slices, add to a large bowl, and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Add the granulated and brown sugars, potato starch, paprika, white pepper, allspice, ginger, salt, and bitters and toss well to combine. Spoon the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, leaving behind excess juices. Arrange the lattice or pastry round on top, and crimp as desired.

6. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. 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). Sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar.

8. Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown.

9. 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.

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

To make dough for one double-crust 9- to 10-inch pie or tart:
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup cold water
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 cup ice

1. Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.

2. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.

3. 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).

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.
If making the double-crust version, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.

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

Sweet Corn Custard modified

Sweet Corn Custard Pie

Makes 1 pie

All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, partially prebaked (see below)
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 to 5 ears of corn)
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1 cup heavy cream
1¼ cups whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup light corn syrup
3 large eggs
1 yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

To assemble the pie:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine the corn with the vegetable oil on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the corn is caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to burn. In a blender (or using an immersion blender), combine the hot roasted corn, heavy cream, and whole milk, and puree. Allow the mixture to steep for at least 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

3. Meanwhile, combine the melted butter with the sugar, cornmeal, salt and corn syrup, and stir to combine. Stir in the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the lime juice.

4. Position a fine-mesh sieve so it rests on the edges of a steady bowl. Pour the corn mixture into the sieve and press with a spatula to remove the liquid. Continue to stir and press the corn until all the liquid is removed; there should be about 1 cup of yellow liquid with some small bits of corn throughout. Combine the liquid with the rest of the filling. Discard the corn.

5. Place the prebaked pie shell (recipe below) on a rimmed baking sheet, pour in the filling and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30 to 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate. The filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or cool.
The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.

To make dough for one single-crust 9- to 10-inch pie or tart:
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

1. Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.

2. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.

3. 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).

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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. If making the double-crust version, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.

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

Photographs by Gentl and Hyers. Recipes excerpted from the book Four & Twenty Blackbirds by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. © 2013 by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing Life & Style. All rights reserved.

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.