Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweet Green Tomato Hand Pies

You know those McDonalds apple pies?  Yeah, well these tasted like those.  I know, it's sorta surprising because these are made with tomatoes--green tomatoes at that--but yes, I swear that's what they tasted like.

I have an aversion to trying things that I'm skeptical about.  Not like trying tofurkey or pickled eggs--which are the two things in this world that will undoubtedly make me gag.  But things that I think might be good and probably are good but I'm still iffy on.

These were one of those things.  Which is funny because I really do love tomatoes.  But I love them for the natural sweetness they acquire as they ripen or roast--or the way they taste when you sprinkle some salt and balsamic vinegar on them.

However, when you intentionally try to make a dessert out of them, I'm thinking... umm... ok... maybe...  It's one of those times where I'm pretty sure they will be good because I got this recipe out of a cookbook and they wouldn't intentionally and knowingly put a recipe in there that tasted bad...

But at the same time it grosses me out a bit.

Nevertheless, this iffy feeling was unfounded--as expected because these were good.  But I might have mucked up the pastry dough though.  I don't think it cooked through all of the way so it was soft and not very crispy or flaky--maybe also because I used part whole wheat flour and part cake flour.

I didn't have any all-purpose on hand so I compensated.  I don't think it worked too well  And they got worse after the first day so I actually ended up throwing them out in a fit of anger/disappointment/annoyance.  It was sad and a waste but--and I need to work on this issue--when one of my culinary concoctions fails in some way, all I want to do is get rid of it and pretend it never existed--out of sight, out of mind.

Anyway, I think the problem was that the dough didn't bake long enough--which is just one more good reason to always use a recipes baking time as more of a guideline than a rule.  Or, in other words, know your oven.

I feel like I know mine but during the process of making this dessert we somehow grew distant and our connection was lost.  I have no one to blame but myself.  Alas, I do think this is a good recipe. The sweet green tomato filling is a bit unique and is pretty tasty.

I would say that the acidity that does come with tomatoes is washed away with this recipe--maybe it's just cooked off--and you're left with pure sweetness (also, the added sugar that goes into the recipe probably helps a bit too).

Recipe--just oh so slightly adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook:

For the dough:

1c cake flour
1/2c whole wheat flour
(The original recipe calls for just 1 1/2c all-purpose)
1T + 1tsp of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8T unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2c whole milk Greek yogurt

(You can use a food processor for this part, but I did it by hand)

-In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt
-Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs
-Add the yogurt and mix in--just until completely combined so that when you pick a piece of the dough up and pinch it together it will hold together
-Divide the dough evenly into two discs, wrap each of them tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour

For the filling:

2 green tomatoes (recipe calls for each to be about 10oz each--mine were less and I still have extra filling leftover) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 other tomato (the recipe calls for a plum tomato but I used an heirloom variety I had on hand--I don't think it really matters) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1/3c granulated sugar
1/2tsp grated orange zest
1/8tsp salt
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger (the recipe calls for 2T finely chopped crystallized ginger but I used what I had on hand)
1T fresh lemon juice
1T cornstarch

-In a medium saucepan, mix everything together EXCEPT for the orange juice and cornstarch
-Cook over--stirring constantly-- medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
-Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are soft and tender--took me about 20 minutes
-Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the orange juice and cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved
-Once the tomatoes are soft and tender, add the cornstarch/orange juice mixture to the filling and stir over low heat until the mixture has thickened--about a minute
-Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature

Egg Wash:

1 large egg
1T cold water

To assemble:

-In a small bowl make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water until fully combined and set aside
-Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, roll one disc out at a time on a lightly floured cold surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick
-Cut out 4 1/2 inch circles using some sort of round cookie cutter or something similar (you should get about 8-9 circles)--re-rolling the dough as needed to get all circles
-For each circle, spoon about 1T (maybe a little less because it will spill out otherwise when you fold each pie) of the filling onto the bottom half of each circle leaving 1/2 inch border all around
-Using a pastry brush, brush the border of each pie with the egg wash
-Fold the top half over the filling and press the edges to seal
-Brush each pie with the egg wash and place on a parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet
-Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 325 F
-Bake pies for at least 20 minutes--checking to make sure that the dough is fully cooked through
-Serve warm