Where pies go when they die

“This must be where pies go when they die” reads a small hand-painted sign next to the door at Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Park Slope. And truly, it must be.

It’s also not far from what I imagine one version of heaven might look like either, depending who you are. If you like a pie shop that’s simple and cozy, just perfectly worn in and charmingly old fashioned, where you can sit at an old wooden table and be wrapped in the smells of butter and vanilla and coffee while you dig a fork into a wedge of pie so good it feels like God himself might’ve slipped it down to you through a break in the clouds, then yea, you must be where pies go when they die.

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Pecan pie’s never been my favorite but this bittersweet chocolate pecan could change my mind.

I know I tend to speak in hyperbole when it comes to food, but the pies at Four and Twenty Blackbirds are deserving. I’ve had seven or eight different kinds, sometimes at the shop on a little white plate with a metal fork, other times in a to-go container when I couldn’t stay, and sometimes from the plastic packaging they come in when you order from grocery delivery service, Fresh Direct. They’ve all been delicious.

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Coffee custard pie with fresh whipped cream. A dream.

Their chocolate chess pie was velvety and rich, the chocolate custard like a perfect pudding cozying up to a buttery, flaky crust. The Salty Honey pie was pure decadence, all butter, caramelized sugar and honey, sea salt sprinkled on top like snowflakes. The matcha was silky and calming, the bittersweet chocolate pecan gooey and indulgent, the coffee custard like a perfectly, creamy coffee in pie form.

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Lemon lavender pie, not at all floral, just creamy, summery sweet.

Every time I’ve gone to the little shop on 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn, I’ve wanted to stay for hours. And every time I’ve had a mouthful of Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie I’ve thought, “My God this tastes like heaven.”

Surprisingly delicious

When it comes to food in this city, I hear about a lot of things and think, “I have to have that.” Blue cheese gelato was absolutely one of those. I mean, really, how could you not?

Blue cheese and chocolate gelato

Blue cheese and chocolate gelato

I’ll admit I wasn’t completely sold on the idea since blue cheese is far from being one of my favorites cheeses, but curiosity was enough to get me over to Park Slope to try it anyway.  And you know what? L’Albero dei Gelati’s blue cheese gelato, made from ash-veined Vermont goat cheese, when paired with a rich, creamy chocolate was not only one of the most surprising ice cream combos I’ve eaten but also one of the best.

The pale grey gelato was unmistakably cheesy, with the creamy tang of blue cheese bright in each bite. It might’ve been too much on its own, but the chocolate subtly toned down the savory aspect and added a sweetness that made for a perfect balance in flavors.

I had to have it when I first heard about it and now that I have, I’m thinking yup, I have to have that again.