matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

Matcha Custard Pie

Maybe I’m missing my calling in life by not picking up a famous cookbook and chronicling my way through it. Someone’s already done Julia Childs, so there goes that idea. Maybe can bleach my hair, spike it, put sunglasses on the back of my head, and work my way through Guy Fieri’s “Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It“.

Uhhhh, no, the appeal of that disappeared too fast. Ha!

matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

It’s not often that I post a recipe on this blog that came from someone else first, verbatim. Though I prefer to develop my own recipes for this blog, I’ve found great recipes and, with credit given to their respective creators, adjusted them to give them my own personal twist. This time, I decided to straight-up make a pie I’ve been wanting to make for ages, if only to save me on a long voyage to Gowanas. (Ugh…I hate transferring from the A to the F/G. Haaa.) Four & Twenty Blackbirds is an amazing pie shop in Brooklyn which I’ve been to a few times. I haven’t been there since 2012, and I have been itching for a trip down there, long trip be damned! It’s a cozy yet popular little spot to go to, and their pies are truly amazing. Recently, I saw a lot of people on Instagram post photos of their Matcha Custard Pie, and it looked amazing! Though green tea usually turns this supertaster’s tastebuds off, matcha, to my surprise, is a flavor I honestly enjoy and indulge in quite often.

I had a friend coming to my place to spend the night recently, and my inner hostess said, “I better bake something for her arrival!”

matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

Admittedly, I cut a few corners – namely, buying a pre-made pie crust at Whole Foods – because I did not have the time that day to make my own crust. Hell, I’ll admit, I usually buy the pie crust you can roll out into your pie tin – one of my favorite cooking shortcuts of all time – but the Whole Foods at Columbus and 97th didn’t have any in stock when I went. (Damn them!) However, I loaded up on ample eggs and heavy cream while I was there, with the newest tin of matcha at my apartment ready to be broken into.

matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

The process was surprisingly easy! I par-baked my pie crust, though, as you can tell from the photos, it did pull away on the sides a bit. The amount of custard I made ended up exceeded the amount of space in the pie crust; this recipe definitely will work better in a deeper pie tin. This was a great lesson in living and learning as you bake! However, the end result, while not as gorgeous as anything I’ve seen at the shop itself or on Instagram, had a wonderfully creamy flavor that had me swooning! For those that might be turned off by the occasional sharp or grassy flavor of matcha, this pie may be a great (re)introduction to it! It’s not overwhelmingly sweet either, the sugar and cream marrying beautifully to mellow out the often sharp flavor of the matcha.

matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

It’s a wonderful pie to start the spring out with. DO IT.

matcha custard pie four and twenty blackbirds recipe

Matcha Custard Pie
(Recipe from Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe, via Food52)

Ingredients:

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar
– 1 & 1/2 tablespoons flour
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons Ippodo Matcha powder
– 1/2 (8 tablespoons) cup butter, melted
– 3 whole eggs
– 1 egg yolk
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 pie crust of choice (pre-made or your own recipe)

Directions:
(Please note that some of the verbiage in the directions is taken verbatim from Food52.)

1.) At least two hours prior to baking, par-bake your pie crust. (If using a pre-made crust, follow directions on package for how to par-bake. If making homemade crust, please use these directions.)

2.) Preheat the oven to 325° F. Position oven rack in center of oven.

3.) In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and matcha powder. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the melted butter, then the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix briskly until the filling is thin and light colored. Stir in the heavy cream, followed by the vanilla extract.

4.) Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag directly into the pie shell; if you are uncomfortable doing this, strain filling through a fine-mesh sieve , cheesecloth, or nut milk bag into a large bowl, then pour contents of bowl into the pie shell. Be careful not to overfill! Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about to 35 minutes into baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still wobbles slightly.

5.) Remove pie from oven. Allow pie to cool completely on a wire rack, 3 to 4 hours. Slice and serve. The pie will keep refrigerated for 1 week or at room temperature for 1 day.

Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie

It’s wonderful having friends with rich heritages. Years ago, when a friend / former co-worker of mine started dating a wonderful Kazakh gal, I suddenly started noting how the food she brought in for lunch was influenced. She used to be a raw salad and kombucha person, like clockwork, but soon, plastic containers of borscht started to make regular appearances. Even years later, it is quite common to see Russian Apple Pie appear at their house parties. Granted, it’s more akin to a cake than a traditional pie, but the name remains as is!

Recently, when Irina celebrated her Big 3-2, Melissa was in the kitchen whipping up that luscious dessert. The directions? So simple! She had the ingredients written down in a notebook with one note, verbatim: “Bake 350 20 min.”

I figured I could give it a try, eh?

Russian Apple Pie

This past weekend, I went up to Connecticut for a family event, celebrating Christmas a few weeks late and the pending of arrivals of two cousins’ babies. I offered to make an extra dessert, this easy dish in mind.

Russian Apple Pie

Perhaps, unfortunately for me, barely anyone touched it because I was unaware that a giant fondant elephant-topped chocolate mousse cake to celebrate my cousin Simone’s son would also be present. But hey, more leftovers for me to nosh on!

Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 Granny Smith Apples, unpeeled
– 1 cup walnuts, whole or chopped

Before We Get Started…

– Apples must be Granny Smith or another tart variety. Do not use sweeter apples in this dish.

– Walnuts can be whole or chopped, depending on the texture you prefer. I’ve made the pie with both and they’ve been wonderful!

– Though this could be baked in a variety of pans, I make this in a pie plate or a round cake pan.

– That original note stated “Bake 350 20 min”, but I found I had to bake it longer. Bake for at least 30 minutes, but check the pie at the 20 minute mark, as different ovens bake slightly differently.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.) Core and slice apples into eight even sections. Place slices at bottom of a lightly greased pie plate or round cake pan; the slices should cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer, so if you start to pile slices on top of each other, remove those extra slices. Sprinkle apples with walnuts.

3.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon; whisk until combined. Add eggs and water to dry mixture and whisk again until combined.

4.) Pour batter on top of apples and walnuts; the batter should coat / cover everything, but if a few apple slices or walnuts break out of the top of the batter slightly, that is fine!

5.) Bake for 30 – 35 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

 

This is a photo of the Russian Apple Pie from my friend’s birthday party. She used a smaller pie plate than I did to make this recipe, hence the smoother top. Still delicious, regardless!

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Oh, hey kids! It’s time to revisit this blog’s most common theme: let us continue the discussion of foods that confused, puzzled, and / or terrified Allison as a child! This week’s food is rhubarb. In my youth, I was both curious as to why and utterly disgusted by the fact that people would put a funky looking vegetable stalk into a fruit pie. I even recall my childhood friend, Amanda, having some growing on the property of their dairy farm. Though the term SMH certainly did not exist circa 1992, I literally shook my head at the notion that adding something such as rhubarb to a pie would make it delicious.

And here I am today, studiously examining stalks of rhubarb at my local farmers’ market and making pies.

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I do love the slightly tart bite of rhubarb; I regularly nibble on a few nubs of it in the pie making process. On its own, its absolutely a polarizing flavor, though it is one I truly enjoy. I like tart. I like sour. In 8th grade, I could totally eat a few WarHeads without making a face.

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Thanks to some of my favorite food blogs and Pinterest accounts, I’ve been falling in love with rhubarb lattices! My inspiration for putting one on one of my pies grew from Baking a Moment’s Rhubarb Tart. Because I made two pies while recipe testing, I didn’t end up having enough rhubarb to make a full and beautiful lattice such as hers, but I definitely have more chances to give this a shot.

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Even though I would have loved a few more strips, it’s definitely a nice visual touch. Plus, less dough equals fewer carbs, right? Isn’t that how it all works?

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 pie crust or shell, pre-made or homemade
– 1 & 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into bite-sized pieces
– 1 & 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
– 1/2 – 2/3 cup sugar, to taste
– 2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
– Dash of cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– If you are interested in attempting a rhubarb lattice, please reference the directions from Baking a Moment.

– Be sure to have a baking sheet handy to bake the pie on top of; the baking process can release a lot of moisture from the strawberries and rhubarb, and it may or may not spill over the crust.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F. If you have a pre-made pie crust, set aside. If you are creating a homemade pie crust, prepare crust according to your directions.

2.) Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour or cornstarch, vinegar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

3.) Pour fruit mixture into pie crust; bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until edges of pie are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a dessert I grew a taste for when I was in college. In yet another edition of “Allison’s Childhood Food Traumas”, I never liked it as a youngster. Why? Because pumpkins were for carving and putting on your front stoop on Halloween. They weren’t for pies! I feel that that rationale from the first eighteen years of my life was valid, yes? Eventually, as I chowed my way through Bay Path’s dining hall in my late teens and early 20s, a slice of pumpkin pie eventually landed on my cafeteria tray, and the rest was history.

pumpkin pie

Currently, I am that horrible person that chastises their beau for not liking pumpkin pie. (SERIOUSLY, Adam? SERIOUSLY?) I have come to absolutely adore the rich caramelized flavor of baked autumn squash inside of a buttery flaky shell. I’m also for upping antes when it comes to some of my dishes, so what harm will a little bit of butterscotch do?

pumpkin pie whiskey

This was my first attempt at making butterscotch, and it is absolutely glorious! I kept tasting the butterscotch as I made this pie, and not all of the alcohol burned off in that process. Who doesn’t love a nice whiskey buzz at noon on a Monday?

pumpkin pie whiskey

The flavors in this pie are absolutely out of this world.

pumpkin pie

And you’ve GOT to top it with homemade whipped cream.

pumpkin pie

I’m pretty sure that’s a national law.

pumpkin pie

Whipped cream. Whiskey. Pumpkin. That’s all one needs to be truly thankful for this time of year! (Well, perhaps family, friends, and good health, too, if you’re feeling ostentatious. 😉 )

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie
(Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe for Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie)
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 pie crust (homemade or pre-made)
– 3/4 cup light brown sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 4 ounces whiskey
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 3 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– Have a fine mesh strainer on hand; the harder caramelized bits from the butterscotch need to be strained through.

– If you are creating a homemade crust for this recipe, it must be blind baked. The Kitchn provides a helpful lesson on blind baking.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

1a.) If you have a pre-made pie crust, set aside. If you are creating a homemade pie crust, prepare crust according to your directions. (See note in Before We Get Started… regarding blind baking.) Once baked, set aside.

2.) To create butterscotch – In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat for approximately five minutes or until mixture takes on a dark brown color. Remove from heat. Add whiskey and cream; expect the mixture to quickly bubble. Whisk to combine; don’t be worried if the mixture seizes up a little! Return to heat and cook mixture on medium until smooth and caramelized bits have dissolved. Strain mixture into a large bowl. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

3.) In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Add eggs and cinnamon. Whisk all ingredients until combined.

4.) Add butterscotch to pumpkin mixture and whisk until combined.

5.) Add mixture to pie crust and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the pie has just set.

6.) Cool for at least three hours before serving.