I’ve been wanting to blog about Vinegar Rolls ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. As Kingsolver’s family documents their decision to eat locally for one year, the beginning is tough. They’re waiting for fruits to come into season, craving a dessert. I know they would have enjoyed one of my grandma’s recipes during this lean time.
As a young boy, my dad and his family lived on a ranch in southeast Arizona. They raised and grew most of what they ate just like Kingsolver was attempting to do. There were no quick trips to the supermarket to pick up a missing ingredient or to satisfy a craving. They made due with what they had on hand. Vinegar rolls are comfort food for our family – something my grandmother learned to make from her mother-in-law.
I don’t know a lot of family history, but I do know my paternal ancestors came from Germany. The use of vinegar fits in with my ideas of German cooking. It’s used in many ways that would seem uncommon in an American kitchen.
Made with only pantry staples, vinegar rolls are something you can whip up anytime. They mimic the taste of apple pie, both sweet and tart with a bit of cinnamon. The liquid will become thicker during baking and gel a bit. It couldn’t be simpler. I’ve included two simple substitutions to make this a vegan dessert.
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Simple ranch house cooking, an old family recipe
- single pie crust, purchased or your favorite recipe (vegan pie crust)
- 2 tablespoons butter, soft (vegan margarine such as Earth Balance)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425
- Roll dough into a 12 inch square
- Spread with butter
- Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon
- Beginning with one side, tightly roll up the dough and place in a baking dish, seam side down
- Combine water and 2/3 cup sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves
- Add the vinegar, and check the taste, your looking for a pleasant balance of sweet and sour, adjust as needed
- Pour the liquid into the pan with the dough
- Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 50 minutes, occasionally brushing the top of the pastry with the liquid.
- Cool a bit before serving
Can easily be doubled
It’s very nice served warm with a little vanilla ice cream
(Vegan substitutions are in parenthesis)