Years and years ago, my friend Susie Hutchins in Worcester, Massachusetts, made green tomato pie which I recall enjoying very much. Susie’s gone now and though I think I got the recipe from her, alas, it is now amongst the missing. Just in the nick of green tomato time, however, along comes Fred Hartman in Whiting, with a pie recipe he found in an Amish and Mennonite cookbook, part of a collection he gathered since he is from the Pennsylvania Dutch region.
I can tell Fred makes the pie because he has altered the recipe to suit himself and I followed his suggestions when I assembled mine. The main thing to consider with this pie is how juicy your tomatoes might be. The original recipe calls for slicing the tomatoes and setting them to drain before adding the rest of the ingredients. Fred said he cuts the tomatoes in small chunks so I did, too, and set them to drain for about forty minutes because I was busy doing a couple other things. About a third of a cup of liquid drained out.
Then the recipe said to put some flour on the bottom of the pie plate over the bottom crust, which I did, and to sprinkle the top with flour, too. Fred said he mixed flour into the tomato and sugar mixture. So I did that, too, using about a quarter cup of flour. I like using green tomatoes with just a tiny bit of color because I think they are a little sweeter: when you cut them open the insides have an orange cast. It may be that they are juicier, too, because the pie seemed to be quite juicy even after it was baked. Next time, the filling is going to get a generous sprinkle of tapioca mixed in.
The recipe did not specify dark brown or light brown sugar so I used one cup of each. You use what you have or like. I scanted the cups a little.
Also, in the spirit of tomatoes as a fruit, which they are, technically speaking even a berry, I put a lattice crust on top of the pie. The pie is sweet and redolent with spice.
- 5 cups green tomatoes, cut into small chunks
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons quick tapioca, optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- pastry sufficient for a two-crust 9 or 10 inch pie
- Set the cut-up tomatoes in a sieve to drain for at least a half hour to forty-minutes.
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine the drained tomatoes with sugar, flour, tapioca and spices.
- Line a pie plate with pastry and sprinkle the bottom with flour.
- Add the tomato mixture and lay the pastry over the top, crumping the edges.
- Bake at 425 degrees for fifteen minutes, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional thirty minutes or until the pie crust is golden.