I had a fun assignment this week. Make Adrienne Kane’s Green Tomato Pie from her book United States of Pie. We wanted to run the recipe during Pie-a-Day and she didn’t have a photograph of the pie. I’ve made pie with ripe tomatoes and French tomato tarts. I’ve also made fried green tomatoes. But I had never made a Green Tomato Pie. New experiences are always welcome in service of pie mastery.
The tomatoes came from the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. They were green, very green. And so hard you could actually do damage if you threw one at somebody. I followed Adrienne’s recipe exactly. Well, almost. When we had our conversation for the show Adrienne talked about using those end of season tomatoes when there are still tomatoes on the vine but weather is getting colder and you know they’re not going to fully ripen. So maybe they’re green going to pink. Mine were super green, meaning unripe. She called for 3/4 cup of sugar in the recipe but when I tasted the tomatoes they were so acid that I decided to go with a full cup of sugar. She also gives the instruction to leave behind any bits of pulp or seeds left on the counter after slicing. Well, these tomatoes were so unripe that they were quite solid and the seed cavities were super immature. That meant that I couldn’t easily discard any pulp or seeds. I quite rightly as it turned out expected that they would give off a prodigious amount of juice. So I added a bit more cornstarch, 4 1/2 tablespoons instead of 3.
The aroma while the pie was baking was as if an apple pie was in the oven. And yet, not quite apple pie when you put a forkful in your mouth. Almost though, surprisingly close.
Keep reading for the recipe, and tune in to Good Food this Saturday for my interview with Adrienne. Click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 4th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 8th at LACMA.
Green Tomato Pie
(From Adrienne Kane’s United States of Pie)
You might be familiar with fried green tomatoes—that oh-so-Southern dish of thickly sliced green tomatoes dredged in flour, then fried to a golden brown. Well, you can (and should!) serve green tomatoes beyond supper . . . how about nestled between two flaky layers of piecrust? This pie might sound peculiar, but it tastes very much like an apple pie, with the added delightfully chewy bite of tomato skin.
1 recipe your favorite pie dough
Approximately 2 pounds green tomatoes, cut in half and then cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (7 cups), and partially seeded (see Note)
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon turbinado or sanding sugar
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large mixing bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with the sugar, cinnamon, flour, cornstarch, and salt until they’re well coated. Set aside.
On a well-floured surface, roll out one portion of the dough until it is about 1⁄8-inch thick and will fit a 9-inch pie plate. Gently pick up the dough, center it over the pie plate, and ease it into the plate. Let the excess dough hang over the rim. Pour in the filling and spread it out evenly.
Roll out the second portion of dough to the same size. Lay the dough over the filling, and trim the edges of both layers of dough to leave a 1-inch overhang. Pressing the edges together, fold them under, and then decoratively crimp the perimeter. With a sharp knife, cut 5 vents in the top crust.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool to room temperature before enjoying.
Note: You’ll notice that I have instructed you to partially seed the tomatoes. That’s because the pie can get too juicy if all the pulp and seeds are left in place. When you slice the tomatoes, leave on the cutting board whatever seeds and pulp fall from the fruit. This will ensure a perfectly juicy and flavorful pie.