Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie bakery was founded in 2009 by sisters and pie makers Melissa Elsen and Emily Elsen.
Melissa and Emily were born and raised in the rural farm town of Hecla, South Dakota. Their mother and her sisters owned the popular Calico Kitchen restaurant for which their Grandmother Liz made all the pies. After finishing a degree in Finance at the University of South Dakota, Melissa traveled throughout Scotland, New Zealand and Australia before settling down in Brooklyn to make pie. Emily has lived in Brooklyn for over fifteen years and has a BFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.
The sisters learned to appreciate the art of pie-making from their Grandma Liz, and have taken inspiration from her culinary traditions along with their passion for seasonal ingredients and creativity with flavor combinations and put their pies on the international culinary map. The sisters originally custom-baked pies in their Brooklyn apartment before opening their popular flagship Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie and coffee shop in 2010. They have created a local enterprise in Brooklyn that includes four locations: a pie shop, a cafe in the Brooklyn Public Library, a production kitchen, along with a seasonal storefront shop in the historical village of Orient, Long Island NY.
Named “Artisans of the Year” by Time Out New York in 2011, their pies have received critical praise and have been featured in a variety of international food media including the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Good Morning America, Oprah and New York Magazine. Emily and Melissa Elsen's first book of pie recipes The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop was released in October of 2013. In 2016, the sisters and their pie were featured at the Hankyu New York Fair in Osaka, Japan.
Emily and Melissa Elsen's first book of pie recipes The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop was released in October of 2013 and has received international critical praise and sold over 35,000 copies worldwide. It has been translated to the French by Marabout and Swedish by Natur & Kultur.