Friday, March 20, 2009

Vinegar Cobbler - Depression Era Recipe

Vinegar Cobbler

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

One recipe for a double pie crust- Below

Mix first three ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let this boil for about 2 minutes, then thicken with a paste made from flour and water (about the consistency of thin gravy). Boil for a few minutes again, until thick. Turn off heat and let cool a little. (Doesn’t have to be cold.)

Line a glass or porcelain baking dish (sides and bottom) with pie crust. Pour enough filling in to cover the bottom. Cut the remaining pie crust into strips. Place one layer of strips over the filling in the pan. Top with more filling. Put one layer of pastry strips lengthwise in the dish, and the next crosswise. Keep alternating pastry and filling until dish is full enough. Better not to be too full, or it will boil over in the oven. Bake until done.

**Great Grandma’s recipe notes that she is not sure of the time or temp because she has not baked one in her new stove but once, and that was a long time ago. We usually bake it at 350 for 35-45 minutes.**

One recipe for a double pie crust

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 6 or 7 tablespoons of water
  • waxed paper or pastry cloths
*pie crusts secret*: The crust is easier to manage when it is rolled out between waxed paper or pastry cloths.

First get out your trusty big bowl. Measure the flour and salt into it. Stir it up, to evenly distribute the salt. Measure the shortening with a 1/4-cup measuring cup. Scoop up a full quarter cup of shortening and level off the top. Your fingers will get messy. It is just a fact of nature, once I accepted this, making pie crust got a lot easier. Now scoop the shortening out of the cup and plop it into the bowl of flour. Measure the shortening again, 2 more times, making 3/4 cup all together, be sure to level off the top of it each time.

Now, use a fork or your fingers to mix the fat into the flour. You don't want it too well mixed, but it should be in small crumbly pieces. Then add your water. Mix the dough up with the fork, or your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Knead it a few times to make sure it holds together well. Add a little more water if you need to.

Divide the dough in half, forming it into two balls. Rip off two sheets of (roughly) square shaped waxed paper. Lay the first sheet down and pat out a pie crust ball into a thick circle on top of it. Lay the second sheet of waxed paper over the pie crust. Now you have a sandwich, the pie crust is the filling, and the waxed paper is the bread. Use a rolling pin or a sturdy jar or glass to roll out the dough between the sheets of waxed paper. The dough is quite manageable in this state. Roll it out as thin and big as you like, 12" diameter is standard. Now, gently peel off the top sheet of waxed paper, being careful not to rip the crust. It should peel off quite easily, despite the wrinkles in the paper. Place the waxed paper back down on the crust, and flip it over. Peel the other side of waxed paper off too, again being careful. Do not replace the second sheet of waxed paper. Now get your pie pan and lay it upside down over the pie crust. Slip your hand under the waxed paper lined side of the pie crust,and place your other hand on the pie plate. Gently invert the two together. Remove the final sheet of waxed paper and you should have the pie crust nicely centered in the upright pie pan. Gently adjust the crust in the pan, being careful no to stretch it into shape, but only to coax it carefully. If you stretch pie crust, it will shrink back while it bakes. Sad but true. This means you have to get the pie crust plenty large enough to fit into the pie pan when you roll it out.

Let the extra crust hang over the sides of the pan. Roll out the other half of the crust the same way you did the top half. You can reuse the same waxed paper. When the second crust is thin, set it aside.

Fill up your pie crust, using the filling of your choice. Mound the fruit slightly in the center if you like a pretty peaked top on your pie. Loosen both layers of waxed paper on the second crust. Remove the top layer of waxed paper, and carefully invert the crust on top of the pie filling. Remove the final sheet of waxed paper and toss them into the garbage. Trim the crust so it extends about 1/2 an inch beyond the rim of the pie pan. Cut and paste with any dough scraps if you have thin spots. Fold the edges of the crust under and crimp them with your fingers or a fork to seal the edges. I flute the edges by pinching them with my fingers into a pretty rim, but this is not necessary. It is pretty easy though, with a little practice. Like playing with play-dough almost. Cut slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Bake as directed.

For a single crust pie, just cut the recipe in half. Or make the whole recipe and refrigerate or freeze the other half for later. To prebake a crust, bake it at 425° until it is golden brown, about 10 or 15 minutes. Poke it all over with a fork before baking to prevent air bubbles from forming.

This is much harder to describe than to actually do. This recipe is exceptionally easy to handle, and the waxed paper method really lightens the task. Lard and animal fats make flakier crusts than vegetable shortening. Vegetable shortening still makes a very good pie crust though, and no animals are harmed in the making of it.

I've made reusable pastry cloths from hemmed pieces of old pillow cases or sheets. Cut them about 18" square and hem or zigzag all the edges on the sewing machine. Then use them just like the waxed paper and toss them into the washer when you are done. They actually work better than the waxed paper, and are much cheaper and more ecologically friendly.

No comments: