Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm first came upon Old Fashioned Vinegar Pie in a handed-down collection of family recipes. This recipe in particular was clipped from the pages of a local newspaper in the early 1900s. The concept of Vinegar Pie might sound a bit strange to modern sensibilities, but make it yourself and you’ll find that it’s quite delicious.

In essence a Mock Lemon Pie, this recipe is a perfect go-to for fans of lemon desserts. Lost Creek’s version comes from West Virginia, but vinegar pie recipes can be found all over Appalachia and rural America. They represent the resourcefulness and creativity of rural cooks, who may not have always had easy access to lemons and other specific ingredients. Instead, these recipes rely upon simple and basic ingredients available in most pantries to mimic certain flavors almost perfectly.

You too can now put that creativity to work, with this recipe and video demonstration straight from Lost Creek Farm. If you’re looking to add a new or last-minute dessert to the menu this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with this tasty, easy-to-make option.

In the video above, you can cook along with Amy and Mike Costello as they walk you through the process of making Old Fashioned Vinegar Pie.

This cooking video first appeared as part of the Rural Assembly Everywhere virtual festival. Check out more great content from the festival at dailyyonder.com/rural-assembly.

Ingredients for Vinegar Pie

This recipe makes 1 pie about 8 or 9 inches in diameter. For a less shallow, taller and heftier pie, you can double the measurements below.

  • Water, 1 cup
  • Salted Butter, 2 tablespoons
    Unsalted butter is OK, but you may want to add a little extra salt to your recipe to achieve the right flavor contrast.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 tablespoons
    Amy and Mike use unfiltered cider vinegar made at Lost Creek Farm, but many varieties of vinegar will work for this recipe.
  • Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Flour, 3 tablespoons
  • Corn Starch, 1 tablespoon
  • Eggs, 4 separated yolks
  • Pie crust, 1 pre-baked 8- or 9-inch shell or your favorite homemade recipe

Instructions

  1. Heat the cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once the water is warm, add the 2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Next, add the 3 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.
  4. Then, add the 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the pot.
  5. Add your 1 cup of sugar.
  6. Now, slowly add and mix in the flour and corn starch and stir continuously. Don’t add the flour too quickly, to avoid clumping in your pie mixture. Take your time.
  7. Keep stirring and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until the mixture becomes nice and thick.
  8. From there, place the 4 egg yolks into a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk.
  9. Take your hot pie mixture and slowly pour it into the beaten egg yolks, again stirring continuously as you mix the two.
  10. Return the combined mixture to your pan and place it back over low heat. Stir continuously for a few minutes, while the egg yolks cook, until the mixture gets nice and thick.
  11. Once the mixture thickens considerably, taking on the firmer texture and body of a custard filling, remove it from the pan and place it into a cooling bowl. Let the mixture cool for a couple of hours.
  12. Fill the pie crust with your cooled custard mixture, distributing it evenly and smoothing out the top.
  13. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the custard is firm and has a golden brown color on top.
  14. Let the pie cool, cut into slices, and enjoy!

Hungry for more rural food?

Check out the Pickle Shelf Radio Hour, a storytelling podcast on food and rural culture, co-produced by Lost Creek Farm and the Daily Yonder. You can listen to all the episodes on your favorite podcasting platform, and keep up with the show here on the Daily Yonder.

The Pickle Shelf Radio Hour is available free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more popular podcasting services.