Friday, November 5, 2010

Green Tomato Pie

This was Dave's grandfather's favorite pie. It's richly spiced, kind of like mincemeat. I love it with all tomatoes, but Dave's mom uses half apples. Some recipes call for raisins as well.

It's been a couple weeks since our first frost, but if you grew your own tomatoes this year, your kitchen counter is probably covered with green ones right now. I'm always a little sad to see my tomato vines killed by frost just when they are at their peak of glory, and it seems like a shame to let so much potential go to waste.

Some can ripen indoors over time – you can tell by the warm yellowish cast to their skin. If you carefully lay them in a single layer in a cardboard box and cover them with newspaper, you may be able to eat red tomatoes all the way up until Christmas. Others are still so immature that they will never ripen – these are a pale whitish-green color, and they are perfect for making green tomato pie! If you use the slightly more mature ones there's a more distinct tomato flavor, so it just depends on what you like.

2 pounds very green tomatoes (about 8 medium-size)
½ C. brown sugar
½ C. white sugar
1 T. flour
Zest of one lemon

½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
¼ t. ground ginger (optional)
¼ t. salt
2 crusts for 9” pie

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. Cut small tomatoes in half, or large tomatoes in quarters, and remove the seeds because they can make the pie too juicy. Slice about ¼ inch thick. Toss with sugar, flour, lemon zest and spices (my original recipe called for some lemon juice, but this can make the pie too juicy, so it's safest to leave it out). Pile filling into unbaked bottom crust, pressing down gently to settle the tomato slices. Seal top crust over and cut slits to let the steam escape. Bake 45 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown and the juices are thickened and bubbling. I tried this without the top crust, and I think the tomatoes didn't get cooked as evenly as they would with two crusts - but it was still tasty!
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