Note: This recipe is featured today in a guest post I wrote for Money Saving Mom®.
Here is the link to the guest post! And below is the original write-up I published about it here on the Pretty/Hungry blog.
You might recall my shock and awe back when I published this post about my Grandma’s Recipe Book a month or so ago. The book I’m referring to is a sweet little collection from my Grandma Lena’s childhood/young womanhood, and it contains about 400 recipes for pie and about 5 recipes for non-pie. (Clearly, my grandma had her priorities straight when she compiled this book.)
But the shock and awe came from this particular recipe…
First of all…. Vinegar Pie? Um, ew.
And second of all… a QUART of water? (I read and re-read this recipe in disbelief… thinking SURELY there was no way it would produce an actual, edible pie. An edible puddle maybe… but not a pie.)
So I started asking around. And thankfully I have a few friends who are a bit more historically aware than I am, and they were able to enlighten me! (You might ask why I didn’t have the presence of mind to just call my grandma and ask HER. But friends, I am an airhead and a hopeless child of the technological age who forgets that answers can be found outside of the internet.)
Anyway, apparently Vinegar Pie is a very old, traditional recipe. Laura Ingalls Wilder even recalled eating it as a child at Christmastime in her book Little House in the Big Woods, the first of her beloved series. In fact Laura’s “Ma” was no stranger to baking “strange” pies. The books say she could create a delicious pie out of almost anything! She made it out of green pumpkins (in The Long Winter), black birds (in Little Town on the Prairie), dried apples (in By the Shores of Silver Lake), and of course vinegar, our star pie ingredient of the day! WOW. Go Ma!
Can’t wait to read the Little House books to my little one!
The humble Vinegar Pie came about as a dessert solution for families who did not have access to fancy ingredients. In taste and texture, it very much resembles a cream pie or custard pie… but without the expensive cream and flavorings! This pie is meant to be made from things anyone would have on hand at any time! Water, eggs, vinegar, sugar, flour, a little salt, and a little flavoring (perhaps lemon or vanilla.)
First, water is boiled in a pot while the other pie ingredients are combined in a bowl.
The filling mixture is then poured into the pot of boiling water and whisked constantly until it thickens, (the whisking is to prevent curdling of the eggs.) Once it is thick, you remove the filling from the heat and add your desired flavoring. (My Grandma’s recipe called for lemon, but I didn’t have that, so I used maple extract instead and it was quite delightful! I highly recommend it.) The thickened filling is then poured into a baked pie shell and chilled for 4 hours (or overnight) to firm up.
This recipe is definitely not difficult, just different!
I was skeptical the whole time I made it. The vinegar smell was very strong in the kitchen and I thought for sure the pie would taste vinegary and be too runny. But to my great surprise, it thickened up and ended up tasting great! Very light and creamy… it is amazing to me that there is no milk or cream in it at all! (Note: You do have to whisk and boil the filling/water mixture for quite awhile to get it thick enough. That step took me about 12 minutes. However, I think you could easily decrease the amount of water in this recipe to cut down on your boiling time! Most other recipes I looked up for reference used about half the amount this recipe calls for.)
As you can see in the first photo below, I got a little impatient to cut into the pie and have a taste. It could’ve used a few more hours to thicken up fully… But by the next morning it was fully set. (See 2nd photo.) So word to the wise: Give it plenty of time to chill and firm up. (Or alternatively you can just use less water.)
I realize you may never make this recipe, and to be honest, that is ok with me! (Heck, I just like that you come around here to read, share, and be a part of the Pretty/Hungry community! I love hearing from you, and I love writing to you.)
No one would deny that there are other (far more tempting) desserts out there. But the thing about Vinegar Pie is that it’s not trying to be any of those! Vinegar Pie has never been about “wowing” company with a show-stopping dessert. It’s just a down-home sweet that hits the spot even when the pantry is bare. I like that about it. When I eat it, I feel like Laura Ingalls. And when I make it, I feel like Ma. Hard-working, resourceful, and grateful for every cup of sugar and every egg. Besides that, I think it’s important to always challenge yourself in the kitchen. Make things you’re unsure about… things that sound complicated or risky. High risk–> High reward… That’s what they taught me in finance school!
(And by the way, if you DO make it… feel free to call it Maple Pie instead of Vinegar Pie. People seem less keen to try it when I offer it as “Vinegar Pie”. Wonder why??)
I hope you have a fabulous Christmas. Whether you’re celebrating simply (Laura Ingalls Wilder- style) with Vinegar Pie, or pulling out the big guns and making your fabulous Death by Chocolate Cheesecake, I hope every moment is scrumptious!
Vinegar Maple Pies
This classic recipe originated on the farms of the earliest American settlers. It uses simple, inexpensive ingredients to create an impossibly creamy & flavorful pie!
Author: Carissa Casey
Recipe Type:: Dessert
- 1 quart water (or 3 Cups, to shorten boiling time)
- 2 eggs
- 1 Cup sugar
- 3 heaping Tablespoons flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons cold vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Maple Extract
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- Well ahead of time, prepare two pie dishes with a single crust pastry and pre-bake according to recipe instructions. (For my favorite pie crust recipe, see below.) Allow pie shells to cool.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, salt, & vinegar in a mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine.
- Pour the filling mixture into the boiling water and continue to boil, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. (6-12 minutes, depending on amount of water.)
- When mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat.
- Add in the cinnamon and maple extract and stir to combine.
- Pour mixture through a sieve into each pie crust to prevent any curdled egg from ending up in the finished pie.
- Refrigerate for 4+ hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
* For my favorite pie crust recipe, click here!
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*Note: This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.