If you love lemons, then you will surely enjoy this green tomato pie recipe. My mom and I came across the concept of green tomato pie back in the mid-1980s, when I began baking as a teenager and discovered a knack for pies. Who knew unripe tomatoes (also knows as green tomatoes) could be used in a sweet pie? I was fascinated by the concept and have been evolving our recipe for green tomato pie ever since.
Now that we have a garden every year and there's an abundance of tomatoes that will never ripen before the season ends, we're more determined than ever to find ways to use up green tomatoes. Green tomato salsa (salsa verde) is another option. But while there are unripe tomatoes, there must be a sweet green tomato pie on our table at some point in the fall.
You can use any variety of unripe tomatoes that you have in the garden. The tomatoes that we grew this year were mostly Roma, and unfortunately they were rather small. Also, any size of green tomatoes works just fine in this recipe. Mix and match varieties for a more interesting texture.
This pie uses almost every bit of a whole lemon, including the zest of the lemon and all of the juice. The texture of this pie is similar to an apple pie, with chunks of tender, juicy green tomatoes, while the flavor is that of a lightly sweet, refreshing lemon. Unlike other green tomato pie recipes I've come across, this one is not watery at all, thanks to the inclusion of both the instant tapioca pearls and cornstarch.
Green Tomato Pie with Lemon Recipe
4 cups thinly sliced green tomatoes
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons instant tapioca pearls
Juice of 1 large lemon plus water to make 1/3 cup total
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon butter
Pastry for 9 inch pie
Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk together the sugar, salt, cornstarch and instant tapioca, and then add the sliced green tomatoes, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well and then place in the pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter and then add the top crust, seal, flute edges and cut a few vents in the top. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F, placing a pie shield on top to protect the edges from browning too much. Bake 25-30 minutes longer at the reduced temperature, until the pie crust is nicely browned. Allow to cool before serving.
Note: If you don't have a pie shield, before putting the pie in the oven line the edges with foil; remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if the edges are not yet nicely browned.