Amish Cook columnist Elizabeth Coblentz once wrote about baking 70 pies for her daughter’s wedding (via The New York Times). How many of us can say we’ve baked 70 pies in our lifetime, let alone once? So if she says to add an ingredient to your pies, she’s probably onto something. Even if that something is vinegar.
While you may scoff (or be miserable) at the idea of a vinegar and fruit pie, there are plenty of precedents for adding a hit of something sour. Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman, known for her local classics, recommends adding balsamic vinegar to enhance the tartness of a cherry pie. Without thinking too much, you’ll probably remember a fruit dessert that calls for lemon juice, like blackberry pie.
Just as lemon juice keeps luscious fruit toppings from falling apart (via Bon Appétit), vinegar serves a similar role. Traditionally, lemons were hard to come by for much of the year. Vinegar has become an equally acidic substitute for lemon juice, unhindered by a growing season. Vinegar seems particularly well suited to cherry recipes. According to Taste of Home, The Amish Cook’s Coblentz recommended adding a splash of vinegar to all cherry baked goods, not just pie fillings. Much like The Pioneer Woman, The Amish Cook says vinegar keeps cherry pie tart. So this cherry season, maybe skip the scavenger hunt for the tartest cherries you can find and just add a dollop of vinegar.