Grandma Pruit’s Vinegar Pie (Recipe Review)

I recently spied this recipe for Vinegar pie from grandma Pruit in the gold mine that is the Old_Recipes subreddit. Vinegar and pie aren’t two words I usually conflate — with the exception of using apple cider vinegar to get a flaky pie crust. However, this recipe called for 2/3 cup of vinegar in the stuffing. I was intrigued to say the least.

According to users in the subreddit, vinegar pie goes back at least as far as the Great Depression, when there was limited access to citrus fruits like lemons. The filling consists only of sugar, butter, vinegar and water. Needless to say, I was extremely curious about this pie – would it really taste good? Or would it be little more than the sum of its humble parts?

While I was skeptical, I’d definitely bet on the Depression-era cooks if anyone could make something delicious out of nothing (remember this pantry-friendly chocolate cake from the Depression era?). Here’s how it went when I tried vinegar pie!

How to make Grandma Pruit’s vinegar pie

Start by preparing enough dough for a double pie crust. Roll out one-third of the dough and cut into small 2×1-inch strips. Place the strips of dough in the bottom of a 12-inch enameled cast-iron pan or 12-inch round baking dish. Beat together two cups of sugar, a few spoonfuls of flour and a little nutmeg. Pour half of the sugar mixture over the layered strips of dough and dot with four tablespoons of diced butter.

Repeat with the remaining sugar and four more tablespoons of butter. Roll out the remaining pie crust and place on top, pressing the edges against the shell. Line a baking rack with foil to catch spills. Cut a slit in the top of the pie, stir together a quart of hot water and 2/3 cup of white vinegar and slowly pour the mixture into the slit. Bake at 450°F for one hour. If your crust looks like it’s getting too brown, cover it loosely with foil until the pie is cooked through. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

My honest review of Grandma Pruit’s Vinegar Pie

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised. Especially when I opened the oven to reveal a dessert that looked almost identical to the reference photo! I let it cool for about an hour and scooped out a slice while it was still fairly warm. It was a buttery sweet delight. Originally I was quite nervous about the amount of sugar that goes into the cake, but with the butter and vinegar it balances out very nicely.

The texture and overall structure of this cake are quite unique. I’d say it’s more of a scoopable treat than what you normally think of as cake. For example, the bottom crust is cut into pieces so that it essentially becomes part of the filling, as opposed to a structural bottom crust. While soggy pies are usually meant to be avoided, that’s kind of the goal here. The lid, on the other hand, cracked and burned in a very beautiful way. It kind of reminded me of a palm with the added texture of the thrower inside.

Even if you have access to apples, pumpkins, or chocolate, sometimes you just don’t have the time or ability to run to the store, and in those cases, I’d highly recommend giving vinegar pie a try. A fun recipe and history lesson in one!

If you’re making grandma Pruit’s vinegar pie, a few tips

Have you ever made a vinegar pie? Tell us what you thought in the comments!

Add Comment