I don't know about you, but I get fairly impatient when that first big flush of tomatoes hangs green on the vine for what feels like an eternity. Every morning and evening I take a stroll through the garden and check for signs of color to find nothing but green. That's when I start getting creative...
Did you know you can substitute green tomatoes for rhubarb in just about any recipe and get the same tasty results? Rhubarb is another favorite of mine, but tomatoes always win me over. This recipe is my take on my nonnie's famous rhubarb pie- like a slice of my childhood!
2 ½ cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks chilled, salted butter
+/- 6 tbsp ice water
5 cups breaker stage or green tomatoes, diced (breaker gives them a little more flavor and color, but still has a nice firm texture with little juice. This one was perfect!)
1 cup strawberries, diced
5-7 larger leaves of lemon basil
3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups sugar
⅔ cup AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A few tbsp of 2% or higher fat milk
A few tbsp of sugar
To make the crust:
(I find the best results when using a food processor, but can be mixed by hand.)
Combine all dry ingredients, mix/pulse well
Dice butter into ½” cubes
Add diced butter to the dry mix a little at a time and pulse until it is evenly incorporated (Very important)
Add a tablespoon of ice water at a time while pulsing (if you add all at once it will get goopy and crusty, be patient with yourself).
When the dough begins to stick together in a loose crumb, remove from the processor, split 60/40, and gently shape into two flat discs- cover with saran and refrigerate for 15 minutes before shaping.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Roll the 60% piece of dough out on a flat surface so that it is 1 ⅓ x the size of your pie plate and about ¼” thick. Fold into quarters and transfer it to the pie plate, smooth so that it hangs over the outside of the plate.
To make the filling:
In a small bowl mix sugar, flour and cinnamon- set aside.
Dice tomatoes and strawberries to equal size (for even baking).
Roll a heavy rolling pin over the basil leaves to release their flavor a bit, then chop into small pieces.
Add the chopped basil and orange juice concentrate to the diced fruit and stir to coat. Then mix in the dry ingredients, stir to coat, and set aside.
Roll out the 40% piece of pie dough into an oblong shape. Cut into ¾” strips for the lattice top.
Fill the prepared pie plate with the fruit mixture and carefully weave the lattice top over the pie. Fold the crust edges up and over the ends of the lattice, flute the crust edges.
Place pie on a baking sheet (in case it runs over during baking). Use a pastry brush to “paint” the milk wash over the top of the lattice strips, then sprinkle with sugar.
Use a pie ring or foil to gently cover the top and edges of the pie crust so it won’t burn.
Bake at 425° for 50-60 minutes, remove the ring/foil for the last 10-15 minutes to allow the top to brown to a golden color.
Cool for several hours so that the center sets up before serving.