2000s Recipes + Menus

Vinegar Pie

Serves8 to 10
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:5 hr (includes chilling dough)
May 2002
In 1947, Gourmet answered a reader’s query about vinegar pie with the explanation that “it might well have been a pioneer forerunner for that effete, dudish concoction, lemon meringue pie.” Others theorize that it was invented at a time when lemons weren’t so ubiquitous in grocery stores.

Either way, it’s been a popular topic in our pages. Between 1947 and 1963, we published five variations on vinegar pie, culminating with Mrs. Z.M. Crawford’s version, which she assured us was the “old, old recipe once used out on the plains when pie timber was scarce.”

The original recipe called for a small pie plate, but we found the pie worked beautifully in a tart pan.
  • Flaky pastry dough
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Cinnamon for dusting
  • Accompaniment:

    lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Special equipment:

    a 9- to 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with removable bottom; pie weights or raw rice

Make pie shell:

  • Roll out half of pastry dough (reserve remainder for another use) on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Fit dough into tart pan and trim excess, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to form a rim that extends 1/4 inch above pan. Prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and chill 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven until edge is pale golden and sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Make filling while shell bakes:

  • Whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl until blended well. Whisk together flour and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then whisk in water and vinegar. Bring to a boil, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Add to egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
  • Pour filling into saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until filling coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not boil.) Immediately pour filling into a 2-cup glass measure. If pie shell is not ready, cover surface of filling with a round of wax paper.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, then pour hot filling into baked pie shell in middle of oven and cover rim of crust with a pie shield or foil (to prevent overbrowning). Bake pie until filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack. Dust evenly with cinnamon.
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