Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Green Tomato Pie

What better way to use up those not-ready-yet tomatoes in your garden, before they freeze, than in a pie?

One of my best friends texted me photos of her canning last weekend - saving her remaining tomatoes before their snow storm. She had jars and jars of green tomato preserves and green tomato pickles. And a green tomato pie.

Really? Green tomato pie? I'd never heard of one before. I've made cake out of tomatoes before, but not green ones. Intrigued, I decided to give it a go for the Gluten Free Ratio Rally this month. (If you aren't familiar with the rally, check out my rally page where I have links to all my rally posts as well as the first host post that explains what it's all about.)

Logo designed by Anile Prakash
This month's rally is hosted by Lisa over at Gluten Free Canteen. Our rally challenge this month is pie crust - just in time for all those Thanksgiving pies! Be sure to check out Lisa's frangipane apple pie and tart recipe, where she also lists the links for all the other rally participants and their delicious pies. Oh. Yum!

The ratio I used is Michael Ruhlman's 3:2:1 pie dough ratio. 3 parts flour: 2 parts fat: 1 part liquid. The dough was a challenge for me this month - but I must admit to only giving it one try due to everything that's been going on and my exhaustion! I must say that the only real success I've had with gluten-free pie crust in the past has been when I've used a flour blend containing a gum, or have used egg. This crust was no exception to that, though it did roll out nicely for me to place in the pie pan without too much trouble.

Note that if you use butter instead of shortening or lard, as Ruhlman points out, there is water in butter so you won't need a full 4 ounces (the first amount the pie dough ratio is based on) of liquid. You'll see how I cut back on the liquid in the recipe below.

I thought this time around I'd try to avoid any gums and also avoid egg, instead using a flax slurry. My hope was that the slurry would be enough to prevent the dough from crumbling - but it was to no avail. I even did an egg wash over the crust and pre-baked it, but it still came out crumbly. When I try this ratio crust again, I'll be substituting an egg yolk for the flax slurry and some or all of the water. I think (I hope!) that will make the difference and give me a crust I'm happier with, because I'm already happy with the taste of this crust. When I try it, I'll come back and edit this with hopefully successful results.

Also, because I could tell the crust was going to crumble, I decided not to top the filling with more dough or lattice strips. Instead, I took the remaining dough and crumbled it together with several heaping spoonfuls of dark brown sugar and some chopped pecans to make a streusel topping. That was a good decision, as it turned out delicious.

I have an assortment of tomatoes in my garden and used green (unripe) yellow pear, Roma and black zebra tomatoes for this pie. I was running out of light when I took the photos of the baked pie, so it still looks runny in the photos. No worries, though - once it cools, the pie filling thickens nicely.

Did we like the green tomato pie? Beyond a shadow of doubt, YES. Both daughters said it was one of the best pies they'd ever eaten, and my husband and I were equally pleased with the results. We'll be making more of this pie at the end of every growing season! The recipe for this pie was inspired by the Green Tomato Pie III on I changed several things, but that's the recipe that my friend above directed me to when asked for her recipe.

Green Tomato Pie with Ratio Crust
(Printable Recipe)

Projected crust prep time: 15 minutes, then chill before rolling and you may want to pre-bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes
1 oz. (29 g) white rice flour
2 oz. (58 g) tapioca starch
1 oz. (29 g) teff flour
2 oz. (58 g) sweet rice flour
2 oz. (58 g) almond flour
4 oz. (112 g) brown rice flour
8 oz. (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into tiny pieces and very cold or frozen (I find if I used salted butter I don't need to add salt to the dough. If you use unsalted, add about a scant 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt)
*(See notes above for liquid, but I used a flax slurry as part of my liquid: 1 tbsp. or 1/4 oz. milled flax seed mixed in 2 tbsp. or 1 oz. water and let it sit in the freezer 10 minutes to get it cold. I won't be doing this next time. I'll be trying an egg yolk.)
*(Again, see notes above, but I used an additional 2 tbsp. or 1 oz. of ice water)
Egg wash (optional)

Green tomato filling:
Projected prep time: 15-20 minutes; Bake time for pie, not including pre-bake on crust: 50 minutes
4 1/2 cups (1 lb. 2 3/8 oz.) chopped green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) organic pure cane sugar
Scant 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's brand)
1 oz. (29 g or 4 tbsp.) tapioca starch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Streusel topping:
Remaining pie dough
Several heaping spoonfuls dark brown sugar
Chopped pecans

For pie dough, sift flours together in a large bowl.

Add butter pieces.

Use your fingers, a pastry blender or a food processor in pulses to mix, but I find I get the best results with my fingers. Blend the flour and butter together until it is in large crumbs, with several larger pea-sized pieces.

Add little amounts of ice water (see notes about this above - I'll be using egg yolk next time with ice water, or perhaps no ice water depending on consistency after adding yolk) at a time, tossing water together with flour mixture with a fork until it becomes a dough. Shape dough into two disks of equal size, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to roll out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out one pie dough disk enough to fill the bottom and sides of a deep dish pie pan (roll between two sheets of parchment paper for ease in transfer).

Carefully transfer dough by turning paper upside down and gently peeling it off the paper into the pan. If any dough remains on the paper, remove it and press it onto the pan. If you desire, use an egg wash over the dough before pre-baking the crust for 10-15 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss chopped green tomatoes with sugar and apple cider vinegar. Add salt, tapioca starch, cinnamon and nutmeg and gently toss with tomato mixture. Pour into pre-baked shell.

In a smaller bowl, mix remaining unused dough scraps from disk with several heaping spoonfuls of dark brown sugar and chopped pecans with your fingers until crumbly. Use your judgment on the amount of sugar and pecans.

Sprinkle over green tomato filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. For best results, don't cut into the pie until it's had a chance to cool for a while. You'll be eating green tomato cobbler/crisp if you cut into it sooner.

As noted above, it was pretty runny in these photos because it was  hot out of the oven. It firms up more after cooling.

I hope you enjoy! Be sure to visit Lisa's post at Gluten Free Canteen and see her delicious apple recipe as well as all of the other recipes from this month's participants. Thank you , Lisa, for hosting us this month!

(And please let me know if you find any omissions or glaring errors - I'm falling asleep as I finish this post up!)


  1. I can't wait to try this. I have loads of green tomatoes that I've been trying to find a use for. I'll share!

  2. Thanks, Michelle! I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Great job on this intriguing recipe. Love your photo of those gorgeously green tomatoes.

  4. Nice. Beautiful tomatoes & great use of those ones that will never become ripe w/ fall here.

  5. Tomato cake? Cool! Green tomato pie looks really interesting - I'd never have thought of that - especially with a streusel topping. I bet it was delicious. I'm going to remember this for the next time I have a bunch of green tomatoes!

  6. I've never had green tomatoes before, but a tomato pie sounds awesome - will definitely have to try this :)

  7. Jenn, I hope you like it! We'll def. be making more of it!

  8. Wow, that's a great way to use up all those tomatoes in my garden that are stubbornly remaining green! I can't wait to try this.

  9. I never eat green tomatoes - I always wait for them to turn red, but this looks like a good reason to try them!

    What a great idea for pie!

  10. I love the flour combination, especially with the teff! But seriously, what a cool idea using green tomatoes.

  11. WOW. This looks so amazing, Caneel!! I'm only sorry I harvested all of my green tomatoes last week.

  12. My mouth is watering. Definitely can be tweaked to make vegan. I don't know if there are still green tomatoes left....i'll find out and make this next week.


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