Vinegar Pie

This sounds disgusting, let’s go! Maybe it’ll be a sweet and sour kind of flavor, that could be nice.

(You can find the original recipe in the facsimile copy reproduced in Tom Kelchner’s new book The Story of the 1881 Cumberland Valley Cook and General Recipe Book)

1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, boil together and skim, when cool add 1 well beaten egg, stir briskly until the egg is all in, 1 large teaspoon butter, 1 heaped do. Soda crackers, if no crackers a bit of the pie crust baked and rolled will do. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves for 1 pie.

Plentiful directions here. I don’t think I need to skim the vinegar, maybe that’s an old timey thing from when people made their own vinegars. I am not that daring, but this book does have a recipe for vinegar:

To make good vinegar, put stripes [sic] of slippery elm bark in cider to form mother, and some branches of grape vine to make sharp. 

I will boil my vinegar/sugar mix in case that’s important to get the sugar to dissolve. (Takes about 3 minutes in the microwave.) I’ll call a large teaspoon a heaping teaspoon, I mean, you can’t go wrong with butter. Soda crackers…uh, saltines I guess?

Just a little dash of these too, will this be enough to do anything? This must have a crust to it since that’s mentioned as a substitute for the soda crackers. Let’s just do a bottom crust and see what happens. And ugh, cloves – I don’t really like cloves. I’m going to use cinnamon instead. Oh, so this doesn’t fill the pie very well. Did they have smaller pies back then? I’m going to make the filling again and dump it in so it’s doubled. Will this be a bad move? Only time will tell.

I don’t have a good idea on how long to bake this, so I’m going to see if this exists on the internet. And… it actually seems to be more popular than I thought. Very encouraging! We’ll do 350 for 40-50 minutes, until the center is just about set. The proportions of ingredients seem very different from mine, but we’ll give the 1870s a chance and see how it turns out.

The filling is just not set, I am now regretting my option to double the filling. I’ve had it in the oven for 60 minutes and I don’t think the crust will take much more. So we’ll pull it out and hope that it sets up as it cools. You can see where I’ve disturbed the top testing this pie over and over again.

And now… the taste test. Reviews were: “Sour” “Strong” and “Enjoyable in a weird way”

It’s not as vinegary as you would think on the first bite, but oh it’s sure got an aftertaste of vinegar. It did set up, though, and the top ‘crust’ is the soda crackers risen to the surface, which add some crackly texture. It’s like if pecan pie had an evil twin. Instead of a nice layer of meaty pecans, you get a paper thin layer of saltines. Instead of sweet and gooey, well, it’s still sweet and gooey but it bites back. I give this a 2/5 – an extra point for the novelty factor and I feel it could be good if everything was a little more balanced. Maybe try an online recipe if this interests you?

-Rachael Zuch of Zuch Design

Share this Post: