19 Nov Old-Fashioned Vinegar Pie with Blueberry Coulis
Perhaps it’s the pie baking class I took a couple of weeks ago, or the fact that Thanksgiving is just around the corner (likely both), but lately, I’ve had pie on the brain. Which, I’m also thinking should maybe be more of a permanent thing because pie is freakin’ delish. Katie of yesteryear didn’t really care for pie, but we’re squashing that Katie. Katie 2015? Pie fan girl.
Okay, no more third person.
(P.S. But seriously, how cute is this mini pie?)
For a long time, pie has been a scary word around these parts. In reality, I think that’s why I wasn’t a fan. That and flavorless, storebought crusts. (Sorry, Mom.)
As I’ve expanded my skills as a baker, it’s become clear that pie must be in my repertoire. A perfect pie crust is a baker’s badge of honor, if you will. But until recently, I was plagued with shrunken crusts, watery berries and soggy apples (okay, that was just a week ago), and then there was this little mishap way back in the early days of Butterlust…when I was still living with my parents. *cringe*
I’ve been working at this whole pie thing though, and as it turns out, a little practice goes a long way. And while I’m far from pie perfection, I’m improving.
This particular pie is my most recent piexperiment. I often find myself lost far, far down recipe Googling rabbit holes. So far that I can’t put my finger on exactly when I first stumbled upon vinegar pie, but what I do know is that I was instantly intrigued. The unappetizing name is obviously what pulls you in, and then in my case, I stuck around at least partially for the history. Pie’s primary appeal is in its warm and comforting presence, laden with creamiest of custards or juiciest of produce, all nestled into a perfectly buttery, flaky crust. This doesn’t leave much room for the intensity and overpowering sourness of vinegar…or does it?
After a quick mental survey of some of my favorite treats it became evident that acidity is pleasntly present in all kinds of desserts. Key lime pie. Strawberries drizzled with balsamic. Lemon anything. Even espresso added to chocolate!
This and the reassurance of previous testers boasting vinegar pie’s actually really good! and it’s the poor man’s lemon pie! peaked my interest enough to warrant a piexperiment. I’d had enough of the traditional (lies, never) and it was time to dip my toes into the pool of, well, weird.
And let me tell you, it’s not so bad! In fact, if I hadn’t prepared it myself, I would never have guessed that vinegar was even present. A smidgen of apple cider vinegar adds a light, yet not at all overpowering tang. It’s just enough to add a touch of brightness behind the more forward maple and cinnamon flavors I chose to highlight. And who knew a water-based custard could be so smooth and creamy?! Yes, water! This pie defies all expectations. My previous assumptions around custard-based pies have been completely shattered, but in the best possible way.
Oh, and can we just talk for a moment about how it’s almost crack-proof? My pie vanity celebrated at this one. After countless attempts at a perfectly smooth pumpkin pie, free of wrinkles and cracks, this vinegar pie and its lack of fuss was like a breath of fresh air. Delicious, buttery pie crust scented air, which is obviously the best kind.
All of this said, it didn’t stop me from telling all of my coworkers (the lucky recipients of most of the goods from this space) that it was “Pioneer Pie” and not to worry about what’s in it just eat the damn pie. Even those whose palates I trusted enough to be honest about the secret ingredient gave me questioning looks. So, proceed with caution, but please, do proceed. Enjoy!
Pie adapted from The Ann Arbor News
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
- 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Evenly distribute the (cold!) cubed butter over the top of the flour mixture, then pulse 5-10 times until you have some chunks of butter that are pea-sized and some that are slightly smaller.
- Drizzle 3 tablespoons of ice cold water over the top of the mixture, and pulse again, 5-10 times. If a shaggy dough does not begin to form, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough resembling very course sand forms. You should still be able to see small chunks of butter, and the dough should hold together when pinched between your fingers.
- Pour the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, knead slightly and form into a disc. Refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-inch circle, and gently transfer to a pie dish. Trim the edges and fold over or crimp, if desired. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help the dough hold it's shape while baking. While your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Line the dough with either foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Remove the weights and lining and then bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- When ready to make the filling reduce or preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar and the eggs. Set aside.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar with the flour.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the water, butter, apple cider vinegar and maple extract. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture just comes to a simmer.
- Temper the egg mixture by adding a ladle of the hot mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once combined, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan in a slow stream whisking constantly.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon. (When you dip the spoon into the mixture and run your finger through the coating, a clear path should remain.)
- Pour the mixture into your par-baked pie crust. Place the pie onto a cookie sheet and line the edges of the crust with foil or a pie shield to prevent burning.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pie is set. It's done when it jiggles just slightly in the middle and looks slightly puffy. Let cool completely then dust with cinnamon.
- I like to serve this pie chilled, but it can be served at room temperature if desired.
- Combine the preserves and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat until warm then stir in the orange liqueur. Serve poured over slices of pie.