Chef Rob Connoley of Bulrush in St. Louis, MO, shares his recipe for the old-fashioned dessert.

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The pandemic has made everything slow down, and many of us have found solace in crafting and elaborate baking. In St. Louis, chef Rob Connoley has been slowing things down since the 2019 opening of his fine dining restaurant Bulrush. At the now-reopened restaurant (after a rocky COVID-19 year), Connoley pays tribute to 19th century Ozark cuisine and utilizes lost crops native to the Ozark region through a partnership with local scientist Natalie Mueller at the Washington University. 

Vinegar Pie from Bulrush in St. Louis
Credit: Courtesy Bulrush

"Ozark cuisine is all about the land. It is about being resourceful and using your ingredients with an eye on zero waste," he says. It was curiosity that led Connoley to historic Ozark recipes: "My goal was simply to discover and explain what Ozark cuisine was," he says. "The deeper the research went, starting at old church cookbooks and ending up at original sourced manuscripts and letters, [it] has given me a connection to a people lost in time." 

For springtime baking—and you know you have some baking left in you—Connolley suggests vinegar pie. "Vinegar pie has deep historical roots," he says. "Oftentimes called Pastor's Pie or Transparency Pie, it is a late winter through spring dessert that can be made quickly, and in a modern time, has infinite adaptability." Ready to use your high-tech ovens to go back in time? Get the recipe for chef Connoley's Old-Fashioned Vinegar Pie.