Baking Pie Pies & Tarts

Apple Cider (Vinegar) Pie

A weird (ingredient-wise) and delightful pie! Tastes kind of like apple pie without the apples? Trust me, it's definitely worth trying – especially if you're into sweet experiments.

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking what I was thinking when I first came across this recipe, “vinegar pie?? That sounds totally bizarre.” Well, you’re correct. It does sound weird. That’s why I tend to drop the “vinegar” and pitch it as “apple cider pie” – because that’s what it tastes like, and you’re much more likely to get regular folks on board.

Me? I like shrubs and drinking vinegars, so I was intrigued by the initial recipe I came across that just called it vinegar pie. Turns out, vinegar pie isn’t just a Portland-hipster/overly precious cookbook thing. It’s been around a long time.

Vinegar pie is more common in the upper midwest and northeast than here in the pacific northwest. After making it in my kitchen, the first time I encountered it in the wild was in a pie shop in Pittsburgh. And it was super tasty there, too.

The internet tells me that it’s sort of a Depression era pie, or a long-cold-winter-back-in-the-day kind of pie. Since you can make it without fresh fruit and just using pantry items, that makes sense! And since it uses apple cider vinegar, you get a nice bit of fruity tang without having to chop any apples.

I’d describe the taste/texture of this pie as apple pie without the fruit. It’s got a sturdy and smooth custard filling (a baked custard filling) that picks up the tartness of an apple pie made with Granny Smith apples, along with the warmth of the spices that one typically encounters in an apple pie.

Now, I should note that I’m not generally a big fan of apple pie. Not sure why. I like apples. And I like pie. But when I put them together, I’m not usually all that jazzed about it.

This pie, though? It’s actually toward the top of my favorite pies list, and it’s definitely a great fall option for Thanksgiving or other such festive evenings. I’m looking forward to baking it again this year. (It was a hit last year, even though I may have just called it an apple cider pie and kept the vinegar part to myself until after folks tried it…)

Sidenote/preface: you’re on your own for pie crust. I still haven’t got that all sorted out, so I’m not going to try and pretend to tell you how to make one. Go with whatever pie crust you know how to make – even if that’s just the frozen kind. Ain’t nobody going to complain.

apple cider vinegar pie

Ingredients are listed in the order they appear in the recipe and anything that requires prep is in bold. Ingredients are bolded in the directions when you first encounter themand the quantity required is included. Time estimates are bolded and italicized. I also include notes about any special equipment you’ll need.

Zero Hassle (0/4). *IF you go with a frozen crust. If you wanna make your own crust, there’s probably more hassle involved. But if you don’t hassle yourself with it, then this comes together super easy.

Apple Cider (Vinegar) Pie

Required equipment: a pie plate unless you get a frozen crust that comes with an aluminum plate. Then you just need a saucepan and a bowl!

  • 1 pie crust, par-baked (see note at top of instructions)
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, browned
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup (160g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (115g) packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • ¼  teaspoon salt

Prep work: Par-bake your pie crust according to instructions on the package or whatever recipe you’re following. In my experience, this will usually take 20-40 minutes depending on the crust/pan/oven temp, etc. You want to pour the filling into the warm crust, so you can start making the filling like 10 mins before you think the crust will be parbaked.

Pull out your par-baked crust and reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

Melt the stick (½ cup) of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. You’re going to brown the butter, so keep an eye on it, as it’ll turn quickly. You’re going for a nutty aroma with medium-brown bits in the bottom – usually this happens shortly after it froths up and subsides. Pour into a heatproof bowl to cool slightly (it’ll continue cooking and can burn if you leave it in the pan).

In a medium bowl, mix together the 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, ¾ cup (160g) granulated sugar, ½ cup (115g) brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, ½ tablespoon vanilla, and ¼  teaspoon salt. Whisk in the browned butter until smooth.

Pour the filling into your parbaked crust and bake the pie at 325° for 25-30 minutes – until the top is golden brown and the pie looks set. It may still have a bit of jiggle in the center but shouldn’t seem liquidy.

Cool for an hour or more before serving.

apple cider pie slice with fresh whip cream

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: