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Salty Honey Pie at "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" --- worth the journey from anywhere to Brooklyn, NY, USA

Why do I deeply trust anything suggested by my friend Nicole Taylor, food writer,  host of Heritage Radio Network’s “Hot Grease”, and food justice activist? Because during a recent visit to New York City, she told me to check out Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus, Brooklyn, cause she knows I love pie. The shop’s website ( gave directions for subway travelers,

No need for the minivan --- the New York subway system was our Pie-Express.

so we headed for the F train on a recent sunny afternoon and found our way to 439 3rd Avenue, a white-painted brick building at 8th Street.

No wonder so many people were waiting in line for the pies made by Emily and Melissa Elsen. No wonder Nicole Taylor gave me her advice to make the trip. Do the same if and when you can.


Buttermilk Chess Pie

Order pie at the counter and find a seat.

Get in line (it goes fast) and either make wise choices, or do as we three did: order all five pies they were serving that day.

We did just that, and given the distance between Piedmont North Carolina and Gowanus, Brooklyn, I’m so glad we did.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie


Pie doesn’t need to be Southern to be fantastic and worth a journey to get it. The Elsen sisters know just what to do to make pie magic. Of course, they are originally  from SOUTH Dakota. Just sayin’.


Cranberry Sage Pie with whipped cream. I shared. Honest.

This is the place...

The Elsen sisters of Four & Twenty Blackbirds have shared the recipe for their extraordinarily wonderful Salty Honey Pie in this February 2011 story by Lisa M. Collins in the South Brooklyn Post:

Why not stir up and bake yourself a Salty Honey Pie, and then sit and read Sandra Nygaard’s fine feature story (South Brooklyn Post, March 20, 2011) for deep dish on Four & Twenty Blackbirds, what it’s like and how it grew?

To follow Nicole Taylor, you’ve got four options:

1) her weekly radio  broadcast/podcasts  (

2) on Facebook (@ Food Culturist )

3) on Twitter (@foodculturist) and

4) at her website (

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. debbie koenig Reply

    I’m so glad you went! Mmm, that salty honey pie is AMAZING. And the salted caramel apple is a close second. Even my husband, who doesn’t like cooked fruit (freak), couldn’t stop eating it.

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Salted caramel apple pie was divine indeed. I wish I had some right now. Hope it is near your home so you can be a regular. Planning to make salty honey pie this weekend for a big pie-centric fundraiser here in Durham NC.

  2. averagebetty Reply

    I love that they have a Buttermilk Chess Pie. Reminds me of childhood…

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      I love that particular pie — sweet like chess and tangy almost in a cheesecake direction from the buttermilk. Not one I had growing up — buttermilk went into biscuits and other baked things, and my grandfather drank it in a glass with crumbled up cornbread (ate it, actually, with a spoon), but this one was new to me when I started researching traditional Southern/country pies. So good to meet you at Camp B!

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