Slideshow: First Prize Pies and Four and Twenty Blackbirds: Will NYC Get the Pie It Deserves?

Apple-Rhubarb: Four and Twenty
Apple-Rhubarb: Four and Twenty
A tad too thick (but still delicious) flaky lattice crust reveals their pie-making roots. I loved the slices of tender apple as well as the smaller chunks of the slightly astringent rhubarb. There is a strong possibility I will serve this pie at my Thanksgiving table this year, and that, serious eaters, is the highest praise I can bestow on a pie.
Salted caramel apple: Four and Twenty
Salted caramel apple: Four and Twenty
If for some reason the apple rhubarb is unavailable I might very well opt for a salted caramel apple pie from Four and Twenty. The salt is applied judiciously on and in the crust, and mutes the caramel's sweetness.
Strawberry-balsamic: Four and Twenty
Strawberry-balsamic: Four and Twenty
Their double-crusted strawberry pie is enlivened by a balsamic vinegar glaze. The crust is flaky enough, though a little thick for my taste.
Buttermilk chess pie: Four and Twenty
Buttermilk chess pie: Four and Twenty
Creamy, light, and lemony.
Grapefruit custard: Four and Twenty
Grapefruit custard: Four and Twenty
I can't imagine grandma Elizabeth made a grapefruit custard pie, but she would be proud of this sweet and tart and creamy concoction. It offers the clearest indication that the Elsens are not in South Dakota any more. They are thoroughly modern pie bakers.
Bourbon Ginger Pecan: First Prize Pies
Bourbon Ginger Pecan: First Prize Pies
A total winner. The pecans are nice and toasty, three kinds of ginger (fresh, ground, and crystallized) add a little zing, maple syrup lends an intriguing sweetness, and there's precious little pecan pie jellied goop. (You know what I'm talking about. It's many a pecan pie's downfall.) Be warned: Allison doesn't skimp on the bourbon.
Apple Cheddar Pie: First Prize Pies
Apple Cheddar Pie: First Prize Pies
I don't much care for cheddar cheese with my apple pie, so the shredded cheddar Kave puts into this pie's crust doesn't do much for me. The pie crust wasn't quite delicate and flaky, the way I like it. That said, the apples were well-seasoned and beautifully cooked down.
Sweet Potato Pie: First Prize Pies
Sweet Potato Pie: First Prize Pies
Nice and sweet potatoey with a mellow sweetness from the combination of molasses, maple syrup, and dark rum. The bottom crust was underbaked, however.
Spicy Hot Chocolate Pie: First Prize Pies
Spicy Hot Chocolate Pie: First Prize Pies
One of Kave's best pies. A gingersnap crust is dusted lightly with cayenne, filled with a chile-and-cinnamon-spiked dark chocolate ganache, and topped with cinnamon whipped cream. A perfectly balanced, decidedly adult chocolate cream pie I would happily eat a slice of every day if it wouldn't blow up my serious diet.
Root Beer Cream Pie: First Prize Pies
Root Beer Cream Pie: First Prize Pies
A little too cutesy for me. I like root beer flavor, but I'm not sure I need to eat a pie filled with root beer custard. It's sweet on sweet on sweet, and not much else: crust made of Nilla wafers and gingersnaps, the aforementioned custard, and a root beer and vanilla infused whipped cream. Maybe I just don't like root beer enough to appreciate this pie.
S'mores Pie: First Prize Pies
S'mores Pie: First Prize Pies
Kave describes this pie on her website as a crowd-pleaser, and that certainly proved to be the case when we ate this one at Serious Eats World Headquarters. How could it not be, with its creamy milk chocolate ganache topped with housemade toasted marshmallow fluff and a graham cracker crust.
Jay's Apple Cider Cream Pie: First Prize Pies
Jay's Apple Cider Cream Pie: First Prize Pies
An apple custard pie created by Kave's boyfriend Jay Horton. I was expecting a more intense apple-y flavor than this pie delivered.