The finished product!
The artist and potter Catherine Yoder stopped by the house last week and, midway through lustily demolishing a slice of pie ala mode, asked "What kind of pie is this? Pear? "Apricot? It's delicious!"
She stopped in mid bite when told by my wife Susan, the baker of this wonderful pie, that it was made out of some green tomatoes she'd picked that morning. Ms. Yoder dropped her spoon and pushed back from the table.
"Oh no," she said quietly. "What a rotten trick. A pure crime of bait and switch. I've been cheated."
A surprising number of people, tomato lovers among them, can't get their heads around the idea of green tomato pie. In their minds tomatoes are great for salads, soups, hot dishes, relishes, salsas---but as a sweet desert? Not on a bet.
But it does work, and not merely as a substitute for traditional pie fruit, but as a proud stand alone main ingredient. If you, like us, have an abundance of tomatoes, I suggest you try this quite reliable recipe.
5 green tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
Place diced green tomatoes and vinegar in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and flour. Sprinkle over tomatoes and toss to coat evenly. Pour the into pie crust and cover with a lattice crust. Bake at 425 degrees F for 50 minutes, until bubbly and crust is brown. Cover the crust edge with foil; remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
If your friends or family react the way that our friend Catherine did, no worries. You can drop the pie off at our house!