Guest post from Carissa of Pretty/Hungry
I’m not sure what it was about this recipe that grabbed me as I thumbed through the hundreds in my Grandma’s recipe book. Maybe it was the odd name, Vinegar Pie. (Who ever heard of such a thing?) Or maybe it was the first ingredient listed: a quart of water!
Could Grandma Montgomery be serious? How could this recipe produce an actual, edible pie? An edible puddle maybe… but surely not a pie.
So in the hopes of resolving some of my confusion, I did what any respectable child of the internet-age would do… I posted a pic of the recipe to my Instagram account and asked people to enlighten me! And I was astonished to learn that this recipe was, in fact, legitimate.
One friend even told me that she and her children had recently read in Little House in the Big Woods that Laura Ingalls’s “Ma” would make vinegar pies at Christmastime. They were a perfect dessert for poor farming families who didn’t have access to fancy ingredients like cream. Eggs, water, vinegar, and sugar were always on hand!
That solidified it for me. I love the Little House books, so I had to find out what this pie would taste like! Besides, what did I have to lose? A few eggs and a quart of water weren’t going to break the bank if the recipe failed.
So I tried out the recipe, and color me shocked when this humble method turned out one of the creamiest, most luscious custard pies I’d ever tried! In my opinion, it rivals any custard or cream pie I’ve tasted. And the maple flavoring makes it especially cozy for wintertime.
Vinegar Pie is a dessert every money-saving mom should know about. You can make it when the cupboards are nearly bare!
Here is a recipe with a little more explanation than dear Grandma Montgomery gave me in the little slip of paper above. I hope you enjoy making it and feeling like “Ma” Ingalls, one of our country’s earliest money-saving moms!
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!
- 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 (If you don’t have maple extract vanilla, lemon, or coconut extract will also work)
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- Well ahead of time, prepare two pie dishes with a single crust pastry and pre-bake according to recipe instructions. Allow pie shells to fully cool.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, salt, and 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.
Do you make any old-fashioned, penny-pinching desserts?
Carissa is a wife and mother of a sweet 1-year old girl. She loves the Lord, her family, and cooking! In recent years her family has made drastic cuts to their budget in order to start saving to build a home. Carissa blogs at Pretty/Hungry about all her kitchen creations!