Apple and green tomato pie

When I first saw this recipe I was utterly intrigued. Is it sweet or savoury? My mind was boggled. It did make sense after all, tomato is a fruit! It was really quite hard to find green tomatoes though, unless you grow them in your backyard or know someone who does you have to hunt for them at specialist fruit and veggie market at the right time. Green tomatoes seem to be more commonly eaten in the US. I remember seeing that film back in the days Fried Green Tomatoes, where the main characters make battered fried green tomatoes. Being a kid who grew up in Dunedin where there were no such sightings of green tomatoes, I relished in the idea of biting into these delicious, almost exotic green tomatoes turned into fritter-like delights. Green tomatoes are simply unripened normal tomatoes but you hardly ever see them for sale. I lucked out and found them at Borough market—good old Borough market never lets me down.

Essentially, this is a sweet pie. It turned out a lot like apple and rhubarb pie but the green tomatoes give it a less stringy texture than the rhubarb. One of the best aspects of this recipe is the pastry. I used to make pastry in the food processor but having since then lost an important part to the food processor, I had to do this one the old fashioned way (by hand). It worked out great, I would highly recommend rubbing the butter into the flour by hand it it does lend a more authentic and finer feel to the pastry. It is slightly sweet, light and airy, flakey and rich all at once. It is truly a great sweet pastry recipe. My only slight contribution to the recipe was to make it that extra bit sweeter.

Apple and green tomato pie

Pastry

500g plain flour

pinch of salt

300g unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into 1cm cubes

25g caster sugar, and extra to sprinkle

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

2-3 tablespoons cold water

milk to brush

Filling

5 Cox’s apples

4 green tomatoes

150g caster sugar

grated zest and juice of a lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar

1. To make the pastry, sift flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter evenly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract. Lightly beat the egg yolk with the water in a small bowl then pour this over the flour mixture.

2. Combine with your fingertips to incorporate and add a little more water if required. Form into a ball and knead lightly. Wrap in foil and chill for an hour.

3. Now to prepare the filling. Core the apples and slice them finely leaving the skin on. Slice the tomatoes into rounds and place into a bowl with the apples. Add caster sugar, lemon zest and juice.

4. When the pastry is ready, take out half from the fridge and roll this out into a 3mm thick round large enough to line the base and sides of a 20cm fluted pie tin. Press the pastry into the tin and prick the base of the pastry. Chill for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180°C.

5. Line the pastry with grease proof paper and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes to dry out the base. Set aside to cool.

6. Roll out the rest of the pastry thinly into a round 5mm thick for the pie lid.

7. Stir cinnamon and sugar into the filling and pour into the pie case. Top with the pastry lid and press the pastry edges to seal with your thumbs, fluting them as you go. Brush with a little milk. Mark small incisions into the lid of the pie to let it breathe when baking.

8. Place in the oven (middle shelf) for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

9. Sprinkle the pie with caster sugar and serve with cold pouring cream, cream friache or just a dollop of vanilla icecream.

Recipe from How I cook by Skye Gyngell (Quadrille).