Black Bottom Lemon Pie deserves a try

I had read much about the New York pie shop  Four and Twenty Blackbirds , so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the famous recipes from Emily and Melissa Elsen when their cookbook was released.  Their fabulous recipe resource features page after page of amazing pies.  It took me forever to decide which one I would attempt first. With some Meyer lemons chilling in my fridge, it swayed me to make their Black Bottom Lemon Pie.


I adapted the recipe and used a Pate Sucre (Sweet dough) crust since I had made extra dough over the holidays.

Crust for 2 double 9 inch pies – this dough freezes really well, so make the full recipe and freeze balance unused dough

– will keep for 3-4 months in freezer/to use thaw overnight in fridge


300g sugar

454g butter – softened

8g salt

5g pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

875g pastry flour

5g baking powder

120ml whole milk

pre-heat oven to 350F

1) Sift flour and baking powder together

2) place butter, sugar and salt in stand mixer and beat on medium until light and fluffy

3) add eggs to butter mixture one at a time and scrape down bowl after each egg

4) add vanilla and mix until combined

5) add all flour/baking powder on top of butter mixture and then pour milk on top of flour and beat on low speed until smooth (do not over-mix) NOTE – dough will be thick

6) remove dough from bowl and on a floured table work the dough until pliable

7) chill dough for at least 1 hour prior to rolling

8) roll out dough on floured surface

9) fold dough in-half and place in pie dish

10) let excess drape over pie plate

11) cut excess dough off – leave about 1/2 inch overhang

12) build up edges with overhang / like a small wall around pie

13) flute edges with thumb and fingers as shown below

14) prick bottom of pie with fork

15) add foil on bottom and fill with pie weights

16) add foil around edges of pie

17) place full pie in freezer for 10min

18) pre-bake pie for 20min/NOTE dough will still be slightly soft but cooked enough to hold filling without making a soggy crust

19) cool pie on wire rack









Pie Filling

3/4 cup heavy cream (separated into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup

4oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

4 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (4-5 lemons)

1/4 cup orange juice

Finely grated zest of 1 Meyer Lemon

Finely grated zest of 1/4 orange



Instructions for Ganache

– place chopped chocolate in a small bowl

– Add 1/4 cup of cream to saucepan and heat on medium heat until just below boil

– pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes

– gently mix cream and chocolate with whisk until chocolate is smooth

– pour chocolate into cooled pie shell and ensure chocolate is spread evenly on bottom and sides

– refrigerate the shell to set the ganache





Instructions for Filling

Preheat oven to 325F

– in a bowl add eggs, sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until thick and combined

– add lemon juice, orange juice and zest and remaining 1/2 cup cream and blend well

– remove shell from fridge and place on baking sheet

– strain filling through a fine mesh sieve directly into pie shell

– wrap pie edges with tinfoil


– bake for 25-30 minutes – pie is finished when outer edges start to set and centre is no longer liquid but still wobbly NOTE-not sure if I had an oven issue but my pie was nowhere near being set at 30 minutes-it took about 50 minutes

BUT be careful -you do not want your custard to separate


– filling will continue to cool and set after the pie is removed from oven

– allow pie to cool on wire rack for 2-3 hours

– now Elsens sisters directions state serve slightly warm, I guess it is all a matter of taste but this pie is MUCH better once it has been refrigerated for 4-6 hours and served cool with a dollop of whipped cream.

Though I am not chirping over enthusiastically about my first go at a Four and Twenty Blackbird pie recipe, I still very much look forward to giving more of their delicious pie recipes a try.


2 thoughts on “Black Bottom Lemon Pie deserves a try

  1. I just made this today. It’s not your oven, mine needed 50 minutes total to bake too- the recipe might be off. I also think this is a pie that will taste better chilled!

    • Thanks for comments Kim. I have since made several other recipes from this cookbook and all have worked out perfect! It is Mardi Gras time, check out my post on who to make a King Cake. Happy Baking!!!

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