I need acid
July 26, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

It just occurred to me that the reaction that makes key lime pie doesn't actually depend on citrus, just on acidity. This means, hypothetically, one could make this kind of pie filling with things more interesting than lime or lemon juice. I need a sanity check on this idea, and some suggestions of delicious low-pH liquids.

Thoughts so far:

-- a high-quality flavored balsamic vinegar
-- grenadine syrup (except the sweetness might be too much)
-- various acidic fruit juices (less exciting)

The pH of lime juice varies but it tends to float between 2 and 2.5; possibly none of the things I've thought of would be acidic enough. I would appreciate any suggestions anyone has. Also, if this is a bad idea, or if you have tried something like it, please tell me.
posted by vogon_poet to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If acidity is what you want, you could buy powdered citric acid and add it to whatever strikes your fancy.
posted by PlasticSupernova at 4:02 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've made pomegranate bars based on fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, with a recipe that was basically the same as lemon bars with the sugar adjusted. They were delicious, but didn't actually taste much different than lemon bars though (the flavor of lemon bars turns out to be largely egg yolk + sugar + acid); and the color wasn't what I'd hoped because the bright red got muted by the yolks.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:06 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

It works with passion fruit which has a ph around 3 according to a quick google search.
posted by entropyiswinning at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vinegar pie is a thing. Also buttermilk pie which is less acidic. (You can make "buttermilk" by adding vinegar to regular milk.)
posted by mightshould at 4:13 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

For more outlandish ideas, I don't think coffee is acidic enough, but Coke could be in the right range and some types of distilled spirits might get as low as a pH of 3. Not sure how tasty the result would be though.
posted by figurant at 4:13 PM on July 26, 2014

Picklejuice pie.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Cheerwine Vinegar Pie
posted by soma lkzx at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: One point that just occurred to me is that the reason pH has to be so low for key lime pie is so you don't need to cook it. You could probably go a lot more neutral if you have an oven, which I do.
posted by vogon_poet at 4:20 PM on July 26, 2014

apple cider vinegar


posted by amtho at 4:40 PM on July 26, 2014

Not sure how they do it, but Publix (grocery store) makes a mango key lime-like pie that is TASTY.
posted by DingoMutt at 5:10 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tamarind is very acid. Super Tangy Tamarind Pie Recipe.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 6:06 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

In my experience pomegranate and egg yolk curds won't set. Corn starch might help but I've never tried. Most recipe s you see use lemon to lower the pH.
posted by JPD at 6:12 PM on July 26, 2014

Passionfruit works like a charm.
posted by JPD at 6:12 PM on July 26, 2014

Also there are all other egg based filings that don't use acid to coagulate
posted by JPD at 6:14 PM on July 26, 2014

posted by bile and syntax at 8:30 PM on July 26, 2014

The only thing I can think of that hasn't been mentioned already is wine (the alcohol may potentially cause problems though). Or maybe some fruit vinegars? There's a local farm here that makes blueberry vinegar out of fresh blueberries. I can imagine that making a good pie! Coffee and tea could maybe work if you brewed them extremely strong. Maybe try an "Arnold Palmer" type liquid with very strong tea + lemon juice?
posted by geeky at 8:46 AM on July 27, 2014

amchur/dried mango powder, found in Indian cuisine.
posted by ifjuly at 9:14 PM on July 27, 2014

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