Mention to someone that a vinegar pie is on your list of desserts to make, most people will make a face and ask why—probably because common sense tells us that vinegar does not belong in a dessert. This vinegar pie will change minds. The flavor is a delicate balance of sweet and tart with a buttery crust and custardy interior. The acidic qualities of vinegar provide the perfect citrus substitute for apples or lemons. If you didn’t know vinegar was a flavoring agent in the pie, you would never guess it.
Vinegar pie—along with buttermilk pie, chess pie, and green tomato pie—were known as “desperation” pies because they were made from a few inexpensive ingredients. That's exactly why vinegar pie was popular during the Great Depression, but it was also the idea of making something wonderful from nothing. Currently, trendy restaurants have found “desperation” pies are rising in popularity and well-accepted by the dining public. It’s not only because of renewed interest in homegrown heritage cooking but simply the fact that desperation pies taste so good. Chefs have reported going back to their grandmothers’ cookbooks to find old comfort food recipes.
Apple cider vinegar is also believed to have health benefits. Vinegar is used as a food preservative and can inhibit bacteria growth. It has shown promise in improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar after meals, and in reducing triglycerides and cholesterol. Bring on the vinegar pie and celebrate an American culinary tradition!
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 9-inch pie shell (unbaked)
- Garnish: Whipped cream
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly mix in the sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold the beaten whites into the beaten yolks.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt.
Alternately add the flour mixture with the sour cream to the egg mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter and vinegar. Stir in the walnuts and raisins.
Add the nut mixture to the egg and flour mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 400 F and bake 5 minutes more. Finally, reduce the heat to 350 F and bake until the filling begins to set, about 15 minutes more.
Cool completely. Top with whipped cream to serve.