If you follow one of the links to the right, you will discover our wonderful world of wine vinegar. We operate “The Vinegar Works” at Valentine Farm in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, producing artisan wine vinegar from a small vineyard on our farm. Like you, we enjoy good food. We love to be creative but also we also enjoy paying attention to some of the traditions from our culinary past. One of those traditions – before the advent of what you want when you want it food shopping – was the crock of vinegar brewing in the corner of the kitchen. Not all that long ago, lemons were not to be found in the chill of the Canadian winter, and cooks used their own vinegar brewed in the still room. What was available on every Canadian farm in our agrarian past was butter, eggs and, of course, vinegar. On a cold winters’ night there was nothing more welcoming than vinegar tart. Not just for winter pleasure, vinegar tart was also an easy summer dessert that required no refrigeration. Served with fresh fruit and whipped cream vinegar tart is an elegant seasonal delight.
Look for the vinegar tart recipe on this blog. Make it and enjoy a little bit of our vinegar past.
Valentine Farmhouse Pastry
(makes enough for four single crust tarts or two double crust pies)
This is an old Madame Benoit pastry recipe. It is very simple to make and incredibly flexible. You can basically push it into your tart pan or pie plate. Vinegar is used as a tenderizer in this recipe.
5 cups organic white flour
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups of vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. I just use my hands. Drop in the two cups of shortening and, using your hands, blend the ingredients until use have a nice coarse crumb. Don’t over do it. Beat eggs, vinegar and water in a small bowl and pour into flour mixture. Again, using your hands, pull the ingredients together until they form a shaggy mass and the ingredients are nicely combined. Use more water if you find the pastry too dry but it shouldn’t be. Form into a flattened disk and cut into four roughly even pieces. I put each piece in a sandwich bag and use one for tonight’s dinner and freeze for the rest for future use.