"That doesn't sound good to me," Mom volunteered,
Well, I think it's the "vinegar" that makes the recipe sound less than enticing, even sour. But it looked easy and I was intrigued by the scarcity of ingredients (water instead of milk, for instance). What could I lose?
I added the optional lemon extract as I thought the pie would be virtually tasteless without it. The recipe only calls for 1-1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and I thought that too little to be noticeable. I was right.
I hadn't given the pie "several hours" to chill properly when I removed a thin slice (above) so that I could taste it. I'd call this a custard pie, even though it tastes nothing like the usual heavy egg custard. The lemon highlight is clearly there, though maybe sparkling in the background. The filling is extremely light - almost like a lemon pudding, but one with very little flavor. It is refreshingly light.
Had I given the pie more time to cool, I suspect it would be thicker. But who can wait?
Here's the recipe (click to enlarge):
Vinegar Pie - circa 1854
Credit: Early American Life, April 2017
I can't imagine how they got the top of their pie browned since it isn't baked in the oven. There's no mention of cinnamon or nutmeg being added to the top.
Here's the pie just made. The pie crust is baked (I used a Kroger frozen crust) and then the filling is simply poured in and left to cool. Once cool enough, it is placed in the refrigerator for several hours.
Mom thought the pie had a hint of green to it, like a key lime. But it's actually a light lemon-yellow (due to the eggs).
Bottom line: Easy to make. A light, delicate dessert. If you want lots of flavor, this isn't for you. But I see it as a simple upscale pie, one you almost certainly will never come across again. With its rarity, I love it even more.