Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Sunday Special - Green Tomato Slab Pie

A few weeks ago I was volunteering at an organic farm here in Kansas. (So happy to find one! I feel like my life here has started to parallel my life back in Tahoe.) The first frost had come in and it was time to harvest just about everything that was left. There were quite a few green tomatoes and neither of us (me or my farmer friend Jimmy) had any experience cooking them. Luckily, a fellow farmer shared a green tomato slab pie recipe with him and he shared the pie making and eating with me. =)

There were actually two pie making sessions, both somehow ended with us eating pie at 1:30 in the morning. The first time we used a store bought crust and the second time we made it completely from scratch. Oh my, soooo much butter, but so good and crispy.

Green Tomato Slab Pie

3 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine ground sea salt
3 sticks very cold unsalted butter chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup very cold water

4-6 cups green tomatoes chopped into approximately 1/2 inch chunks
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter. This is the perfect pairing with icecream.)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

To finish
1 egg beaten

Making the Crust: Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in the bottom of a large wide bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula. Once the water is absorbed, use your hands to form the balls, kneading it as little as possible. Divide the dough in half. (recipe suggested to: Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to 2 days or slip into freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for 1 day.)

Prepare filling: In a medium colander, toss diced tomatoes with 2 teaspoons sugar and let drain for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. The second time, we let them drain for 3-4 days. Press out the juice by pressing down on the tomatoes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and spices. Add the tomatoes and toss until thoroughly coated.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.

Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough halves into an 18-by-13 inch rectangle. (Ours was no where near this big. Needless to say, we probably had double thick crust. With crust that thin, you can use up to 8 cups of tomatoes.) Work as fast as you can to keep the butter from melting. Transfer the crust to the pan. The dough should be big enough to cover the bottom and fold up the sides. Use your hands to quickly form the sides by pressing in the corners and along the sides. Pour in the tomato mixture and spread evenly.

Roll out the second dough half to about 1/4 inch thick. Then use a butter knife or pizza cutter to cut it into equally wide strips. Use these strips to decorate the top of the pie such as a lattice pattern. Brush the egg onto the top crust. Bake about 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. (Supposedly, you are to let it cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes, but who has that kind of control?) We let it cool, maybe 5 minutes and then served it up.

With vanilla ice cream. Of course!

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