The stock market crash of 1929 caused one of the biggest economic falls in American history. Workers were laid off, people found themselves standing in lines outside of the soup kitchen, and families scrounged to piece together what little money that had for food and shelter. While it was a time of hardship, emotional trauma, and loss, it was also a time of invention and creativity; mainly when it came to putting food on the table. Bare-bone desperation pie recipes, like this vinegar pie recipe, was one of the ways people were able to provide a little taste of "the good life" without breaking the bank.

What is Vinegar Pie?

Citrus fruits were expensive and when they were out of season they were nowhere to be found. So using a little bit of creativity, women in the 1930s took to using common items you would already have in your kitchen (apple cider vinegar, eggs, unsalted butter, white sugar, all-purpose flour) as a substitute for more uncommon or expensive items you would usually need to purchase for a lemon pie. Invention comes from necessity; and these home cooks knew that with a bit of imagination and a pie crust, a good meal was only a few minutes away.

Regarding taste and texture, this custard pie filling most resembles a sweet filling with a hint of tartness. The entire pie shell isn't topped with vinegar, but used as a flavoring like you would use vanilla extract.

How To Make Vinegar Pie

When preparing pies, the first thing you have to consider is the pie shell. Store-bought is fine, but if you want your pie to be authentic, whip up your own pie crust using our recipe. There is a debate on whether to blind-bake the pie shell or to bake the entire filling and pie crust together. I prefer to blind-bake with pie weights to ensure the crust is crispy and not soggy.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, water, and eggs and turn the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Remove the mixture from the heat once the filling can coat the back of a spoon.

Let the mixture cool 15 minutes and pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Bake 45-55 minutes until the filling is just set.

You can stop there, but if you are looking to add a little more height to your pie, add a meringue topping by whipping egg whites, a pinch of salt, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl until medium-stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the room temperature filling and bake for 15 additional minutes to brown the meringue.

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Vinegar Pie 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, water, and eggs and turn the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Remove the mixture from the heat once the filling can coat the back of a spoon.

Let the mixture cool 15 minutes and pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Bake 45-55 minutes until the filling is just set.

Let cool to room temperature before eating.

Notes

Make a meringue topping if you wanna add a little bit of height to your pie.

Perfect Pairing

Why not make another pie?