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The third week of January 2021 was a Rather Blustery one as Pippa and I would say (we’re big Winnie the Pooh fans around here). On Tuesday the 19th, the volume of the wind rose to an all-day and all-night howl. We spent the day watching our neighbor’s roof blow off a shingle or five at a time (ducking out to help clean up, too!) and were without power for over 24 hours. A tricky bit in all this was that we were going out of town from Wednesday to Sunday, and never got power restored before our departure time. A big thanks to friends who lent a helping hand through all the logistics of that situation… “Hey, can you go to my house and run the garbage disposal?” That kind of thing. Our friends are the real ones.

In retrospect, there was more we could have done to save our food, but, weird times, you know. Bottom line is, we ended up having to throw away the contents of our fridge and some of our freezer. The saddest loss there was the Meyer Lemon Gelato that Pippa and I made for our first “Ice Cream Monday” of the year. More on that in a future post; Pie and ice cream are such clearly related topics that I do plan to regularly share our 2021 ice cream escapades with the Peace of Pie audience.

Our destination this time was Cambria, a gorgeous coastal town about four hours north of Los Angeles. Over the last ten years, the Central Coast has become one of my very favorite places on earth and is a favorite vacation spot for both Levi and I. It’s even more fun seen through the wondering eyes of a nearly-three-year-old. God’s beauty. Pine trees, the ocean, playful otters, shiny gorgeous creatures in tidepools. We were blessed with one extremely sunny and warm day in which we kayaked out into the calmest Morro Bay I’ve ever seen. Pippa was a ball of delight in her little pink-and-yellow life jacket.

Back to the pie(s). We didn’t really intend to bring multiple coolers of food (and I didn’t really intend to make two pies in four days), but between us and Levi’s parents (who had also lost power overnight) we arrived at our vacation home with defrosted bags of frozen cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. The solution was fairly obvious.

Let’s give this one the descriptive name of “Frozen Berry Windstorm Pie”. And here is a very cute pic or two of Pippa and her Nana sniffing said Windstorm Pie. A bit of oaty streusel on top completed this dessert. I’d packed the oats for Pip’s breakfasts but they sure came in handy here!

I was more prepared than usual to whip this pie up than I normally would have been outside my home kitchen. I had packed a rolling pin, pie dish, and pastry ingredients, with the intent of crafting a French Canadian Walnut-Maple Syrup Vinegar Pie. This pie immediately follows Sugar Pie in the Pie cookbook; readers may remember that Sugar Pie was the latest addition to the Pie Gallery (made and eaten less than a month ago, for Christmas 2020) so it’s cute that these pies get to be next to each other in my gallery as well as in the cookbook. It’s the little things…

Have you heard of vinegar pie before? Aside from this recipe, my knowledge of vinegar pie largely comes from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Pippa and I have recently been enjoying the “My First Little House” series, which are beautifully illustrated picture books based on the original works. There’s one book where Almanzo goes to the County Fair and the favorite page (like mother, like daughter, I guess…) is of Almanzo eating his heart out in the dining hall, where all the ladies from church are serving a plethora of pies – Vinegar Pie among them. Pippa remembers bits and pieces of what she’s read and regurgitates phrases during play, so it would not be an unusual occurrence to overhear her, for example, setting up a “birthday party” made of bubble wrap and play food and telling her stuffie “Pomegranate Cat” to eat some “Vinegar Pie”. Every day is a new adventure around here.

By the way, you really can’t taste the vinegar. There is an acidic kick to the pie (which contains 1/4 cup orange juice in addition to the couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar), but it really is just there to offset the sweetness and provide a more well-balanced flavor. So, don’t be deterred. It’s lovely…if you enjoy maple syrup (who doesn’t?) and walnuts (less of you, probably). My father-in-law is a huge walnut fan, so I timed this pie to occur at least near-ish to his birthday (which is next week, but he believes in a long birthday season).

Here’s something funny. I have never been the *best* at posting about pies immediately after baking them, so I don’t know that this has happened before…but after I put that last picture in, I remembered that I still had about one sixth of this pie remaining in the fridge, and I went and helped myself to a slice. Yep, there’s that citrus tang in real time. Delightful.

Action items from this post:

  • Get yourself outside and maybe somewhere near the ocean, if possible. It’s good for the soul and I know our souls are weary these days.
  • If you’re interested in trying a vinegar pie (you might even have all the ingredients in your pantry already!) here is a similar but slightly different recipe from Ken’s Pie Academy website: Maple Walnut Vinegar Pie. I’d love to hear if you decide to make one yourself!