I don’t know if you remember, but back in March my friend Simone ran a challenge on her blog. The gist was “Prepare a dish of your choosing that has a connection to a published literary work (novel, novella, short story, memoir, bio, poem) you’ve read. Then write about it.”
I did, and other than one friend who was a bit unhappy with me for introducing her to a series of books that interfered with pretty much all facets of her life while she devoured them (I know, me too!), I got positive feedback.
Now Simone has issued the challenge again, and, never one to let a gauntlet just lie in the dust, here we go!
Summer, for me, is a time for lighter reading. I veer toward travel books, and if they include food (and how can they not?) so much the better. I have enjoyed Peter Mayle’s books taken from his experiences as a British ex-pat in Provence, which are as light as the scent of tanning lotion through boxwoods, and I have also read his novels.
No matter what you may think of his literary abilities, he writes good food. His characters eat well and credibly, often, and they enjoy the variety of the region.
For example, from Hotel Pastis: “Maman put a dish of sliced sausage and cornichons between them,… Sausage was followed by pizza, then by steak and roast peppers, salad, cheese, a homemade tarte au citron.” Mmmmm!
Now I have eaten lemon pie here in the States, and in France, and never met one I didn’t like (of course, I don’t know that i’ve ever met any pie I didn’t like… oh dear!). There are lemon meringue pies, there are lemon curd tarts, there are one- and two-crust lemons pies, “Shaker” pies and hand pies (think sort of fruit filled calzone) but I want to tell you about a totally different pie.
If “tromp l’oeil” is “fool the eye” then this was “trompe la bouche”. I truly thought I was eating a lemon pie – a very good lemon pie, but apparently I was sorely mistaken!
A friend made this for me a few years ago. She says it is her Irish great-grandmother’s recipe, and told me of course I could share it with you. No lemons found around Ireland back then – at least not in the homes of working folks! This is a vinegar pie.
Seriously, you have to trust me on this. If you don’t tell your guests, they will most likely think it is a lemon pie, as I did, since one often jumps to the closest point of reference, right?
This is a very simple recipe, and I have never had it fail. You can let it cool and eat it pretty much immediately, or you can chill it in the fridge. I like it cold. It keeps well (or so I am told – it never lasts long enough to be concerned around here!). You can use store-bought crust or make your own, no judgment from me on that point!
Here’s the recipe as I got it:
Great-Grandma’s Vinegar Pie
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp flour (heaping)
pinch of salt
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
Make your crust. Preheat oven to 375.
In a big bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and flour. Beat in the 2 eggs; about 1/3 cup of cider vinegar, then beat in the 1/2 cup butter.
Pour into crust.
Bake at 375 degrees until top is brown (check at 30 minutes, probably takes about 40).
Easy as, well, pie! It will form a slight crust on top as it bakes. Don’t let the top get too brown, light not dark. You can play with the sugar – I find that 1-1/4 cups works for me, and you may drop the oven temp if your runs hot like mine does.
This goes mighty fine as a dessert or with coffee for brunch. Enjoy and let us know if you try it! Mmmmmm…