This old-fashioned pie from the 1800s is one that deserves to be brought back to the table. Made from unripe green tomatoes, it is seasoned much like an apple pie. This basic version uses cinnamon, allspice, a bit of nutmeg, and apple cider vinegar. I think that you could probably substitute green tomatoes for apples in any basic apple pie recipe and it would come out a winner. If you like, you can make variations with up to 2 cups of sliced apples, a half cup of raisins, or a tablespoon or two of diced-up candied ginger. If you prefer to skin the tomatoes, see below.
Green Tomato Pie
1 recipe Roll-Out Dough (recipe below)
4 cups (about 1 lb; 460 to 500 g) green tomatoes, skinned (optional)
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, plus a few teaspoons for sprinkling
¼ cup (50 g) brown sugar
1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon or more to taste
½ teaspoon allspice
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon good-quality apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (25 g) tapioca starch
Half-and-half for brushing on top
Makes two dough discs; halve amounts for one dough disc
2½ cups (363 g) all-purpose flour, unbleached, plus more for rolling
1 cup (224 g) chilled fat of your choice, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (120 ml) ice water plus 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) more as needed
Make the pie dough and chill in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Roll out half the dough, place in the pie pan, and place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Quarter the tomatoes, cut out and discard most of the firm center core. Slice the tomatoes to a thickness of about ¼ inch (6 mm) and place in a medium bowl. Add the white and brown sugars, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, apple cider vinegar, and tapioca starch. With a spoon, mix to coat well. Turn the tomato filling into the chilled pie pan and return it to the fridge while you roll out the top dough.
Roll out the top dough. Lay the rolled-out dough on top of the filling, and trim and crimp or flute the edges). Cut some steam vents on top. You can also make a lattice top. Sprinkle the top of the pie with a few teaspoons of sugar and brush with half-and-half.
Place in the oven and bake for about 55 minutes. About halfway through the bake, check to make sure the top is not over-browning. If it is, cover loosely with a sheet of foil or use pie shields or strips of foil if the edges are over-browning.
Remove the pie from the oven when you see the filling peeking through the edges and vents or lattice top with some bubbling. Place on a wire rack and let cool for about an hour.
This pie is very good eaten while it is still slightly warm.
How to Peel Green Tomatoes:
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil. Score the smooth end, of each green tomato with an X just so it breaks the skin.
Lower the scored tomatoes into the boiling water. Let boil for 2 minutes. Lift the tomatoes out with the spoon and place them into the ice water bath. Peel and discard the skin.
To make the Roll-Out Dough:
This recipe is the tried and true flaky pie dough that I have taught at Pie Camps since 2008. It can be made either by hand or in a food processor and is generously sized for one 9-inch (23 cm) deep-dish double-crust pie. It uses a total of 1 cup (224 g) fat, the choices of which are: butter, which gives a crust flaky layers and wonderful flavor; leaf lard, which adds flake and crispness; and vegetable shortening, which makes a very tender crust with a greasy flavor and mouthfeel. My favorite dough uses a combination of half butter, half leaf lard. This combination gives both crisp, flaky layers, along with the flavor of butter.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add all the ingredients but the ice water. Pulse 15 times to combine. Use short pulses. Add 3 tablespoons of the water. Pulse 10 times. Add 3 more tablespoons of the water. Pulse five times.
Turn the dough into a medium bowl, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, and finish by hand as above, adding a little more water if necessary. Divide the dough in half and make two chubby discs. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.