End of summer’s approach is inevitable, it makes itself known by the end of July as the sunshine slips away noticeably earlier each day. There is a bit of chill in the air in the evenings throughout some of the valleys of Pennsylvania that whispers gently in our ears, “the first frost is coming sooner or later…”
Backyard garden tomato plants so loving tended and nurtured throughout the scorching summer heat struggle valiantly to give us what they can before they meet their demise in the not-to-distant future.
I always feel a pang of sorrow realizing the garden will soon be no more for another long, dreary stretch until next spring; the frugal Dutchie in me hates to see anything go to waste. I got that trait from my Nana (grandmother).
My grandmother used to pick the green tomatoes remaining on the vines at the end of every growing season from the wilted, past-their-prime tomato plants my Pop planted every year. She would gather them in the pockets of her rick-rack-trimmed cotton and bring them in to see if she could use up these precious gems rather than see the fruits fall hopelessly into the soil only to become compost for next year’s crop.
Some green tomatoes were sliced, dredged in seasoned flour and fried. Some were wrapped in newspaper and set on the back corner of the counter in hopes they would ripen and we would be able to enjoy Nana’s fried red tomatoes one more time (and we often did!). And some green tomatoes found themselves in this Sweet Green Tomato Pie
Tossed with spices and tucked between two layers of pie crust, the green tomatoes take on characteristics reminiscent of Granny Smith apples or rhubarb. Some people consider this among the many “mock apple pies” (like this Mock Apple Pie). You might find it does or does not mimic apple or rhubarb, but is delicious in its own right.
To make this pie even easier, use refrigerated crust. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from making crust from scratch, but don’t sweat the details in recipes like this and be willing to embrace shortcuts! If you prefer, you can make lattice strips to top this pie rather than a solid top crust. Make it your own and enjoy the last of tomato season in a unique way.
Sweet Green Tomato PieCourse: Sides, DessertsCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
5 to 6 medium size green tomatoes, cored, cut into quarters lengthwise then thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Place sliced green tomatoes and vinegar in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and flour. Sprinkle over tomatoes and toss to coat evenly.
- Pour into pie crust and cover with top crust. Crimp as desired. Make a few slits in the crust for ventilation with a sharp knife.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and crust is brown.
- For a pretty glazed top crust, brush top crust with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar before baking.