(1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
In This Recipe
For the matcha custard:
At least 2 hours before you plan to bake (and preferably the day before), make the pie crust, following the instructions below, and par bake it: https://food52.com/blog/10858-everything-you-need-to-know-about-par-baking.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the pre-baked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift 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.
Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell. 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. Be careful not to over-bake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set as it cools. 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.
For the all-butter crust:
Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.
With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated.
Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.
Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Roll the pie on a floured surface until about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a pie plate, crimp the edges as you'd like, then freeze for an additional 30 minutes, until firm and cold to the touch. Pierce the base of the pie with a fork, then line the crust with a square of parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 425° F until the crust just begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper holding the pie weights, and continue to bake until the crust is evenly browned and looks crisp (above, right), about 5 to 10 minutes. If your pie is browning too quickly, you can reduce the heat to 375° and tent the pie with foil. Let cool completely before filling with the custard.
Sisters Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen were born and raised in the rural farm town of Hecla, South Dakota. Their mother and her sisters owned and operated the popular local restaurant, the Calico Kitchen, for which their grandmother Liz made all the pies. After pursuing different careers—Melissa in finance and Emily in sculpture and photography—they established their business in Brooklyn. They originally custom-baked pies in their apartment before opening Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie and coffee shop in 2010. Named “Artisan of the Year” by Time Out New York in 2011, they have received critical praise for their pies and have been featured in a variety of food media including the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and New York magazine.