Category: Nona Brooklyn

Photo from Restaurant Girl
By Emily Elsen, Co-Owner and Pie Baker at Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Pie is definitely my favorite Thanksgiving dessert – the holiday is practically synonymous with pie to me, so I’m always excited when this time of year rolls around. The pies on our holiday table growing up were always very traditional – Grandma Liz’s pumpkin pie being a standout.

Custard pies are an excellent choice for a light and sweet dessert after a big Thanksgiving feast. Some custard pies that I can’t get enough of this time of year include our Bourbon Sweet Potato (I love adding booze to pie), our Honeyed Pumpkin (the honey makes it so floral and rich), a recipe from our Grandma Liz for Sour Cream Raisin (it’s so sweetly spiced and comforting) and our Maple Buttermilk Custard pie, which, with its amazing maple flavor and sweet tang of buttermilk, is the perfect Autumn dessert. It’s exactly what I would serve at my Thanksgiving table, along with a big bowl of freshly whipped cream.

You can definitely find the ingredients for this pie close to home. You can find delicious, fresh maple syrup at just about any of the Greenmarket farmers markets, or at good provisions stores like Brooklyn Larder or the market at Prime Meats. You can also pick up some beautiful butter, eggs and cream from those folks. Evan’s Farmhouse Dairy makes a great buttermilk that you can get through Basis Foods’ ‘Good Food to You’ program. And Nielsen-Massey makes a great Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Paste that works perfectly in the recipe.

Maple Buttermilk Custard Pie

You will need one par-baked pie shell.

  • 1/4 c melted butter – cooled
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 3 tbl brown sugar (remove any hardened lumps)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c maple syrup, grade A (use high quality maple)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/1/4 c buttermilk

This recipe can easily be put together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Quickly stir together the melted butter, flour, brown sugar and salt in the bowl, stir in the maple syrup and vanilla paste. Add the heavy cream and eggs and stir again, then add the buttermilk and stir together. Don’t incorporate air while whisking, simply blend gently with the whisk.

Pour the finished custard into a par-baked all butter pie shell and place on a cookie sheet for ease in handling. Bake in a 325F oven for 45 – 55 minutes (or more if necessary) rotating halfway through. The custard will be done when the edges are set and slightly puffed, and the center is still pretty wobbly. Be careful not to over-bake or the custard will separate.

Cool and serve just slightly at room temp.

Emily and Melissa Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a pie shop and cafe in Gowanus that turns out some of the finest pies you’ll find in Brooklyn or anywhere.


Four & Twenty Blackbirds will be selling special Thanksgiving pies on a first-come, first-served basis next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8am until they sell out. Thanksgiving varieties include Salted Caramel Apple, Honeyed Pumpkin, Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan, Salty Honey and Bourbon Sweet Potato.

The shop is located at 439 3rd Avenue (at the corner of 8th Street and 3rd Ave) in Gowanus. The phone number is (718) 499 2917.

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