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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Green Tomato "Apple" Pie Empanadas

When Ben and I finally took out our summer garden, we did so with some of the plants still producing. I felt horrible taking them out but we had to get our winter garden in before the ground began to get too cold and before the mornings got too frosty. Two of my tomato plants had a number of tomatoes hanging on but they were all still green. I couldn't fathom throwing them away so I picked them not knowing what I was going to use them for. 

They sat in my fridge for a few days until I had dinner with my parents and I was telling my mother about my poor little green tomatoes with no home. I had tussled about the idea of making fried green tomatoes but my mom had a far more interesting proposition. She told me about a recipe that my grandmother used to make...Green Tomato Pie. "green tomato what", I said? Ya, you heard me right, green tomato pie. She oooohhhh'd and aaaahhhhh'd over the memory of that pie and said that if my grandmother had not told her that she was eating a pie filled with green tomatoes she would never have known.  Of course I had to give it a try, and put a little Lichty twist on old grandmas recipe!
For this green apple pie I thought it would be fun to make mini pie empanadas instead of an entire pie. I also topped each empanada with a healthy sprinkling of turbinado sugar for a little extra sweetness and an unexpected sugary crunch.
I couldn't wait to make these little fact, I made them the very next day. I must admit I was a little skeptical and took my first bite with a little hesitation. My taste buds were deceiving me!!! At first bite I would have thought I was eating a most delicious apple pie empanada. To be sure I wasn't hallucinating I took another bite.  Holy moly, true to my mothers story, this recipe was a keeper and no way no way no way would I have ever known I was eating a pie filled with green tomatoes. What a magic trick!! A magic trick I'm sharing with you!

Green Tomato "Apple" Pie Empanadas

Pie Crust-
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6-8 Tbs ice water
1 egg
2 Tbl water
Turbinado sugar

Pie Filling-
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 Tbl flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 cups thinly sliced green tomatoes, about 4-5 medium sized
1 Tbl cider vinegar

Pie Crust-
Combine flour, salt and sugar in food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6-7 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea size pieces of butter. 

Add the 6-7 Tbl of ice water one tablespoon at a time (you may not have to use it all), continuing to pulse until the mixture begins to clump together. Remove the dough and place on a clean surface. Kneed the dough gently to combine the ingredients and form into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 2 days. Once your dough has chilled place it on the counter to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. While dough is resting, prepare your filling. 
Pie Filling-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice your tomatoes thinly  Depending on how large your tomatoes are you may need to half them once cut. 

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add tomatoes and vinegar. Toss to coat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pie pastry about 1/8 inch thickness and using a circular cookie cutter, cut out circles for your mini pies. Fill the center of your circle with a heaping tablespoon of filling and dot with a piece of butter.

 Lightly dab the outside edge of your pie circle with a little bit of water to help seal once you fold over. Fold one side of circle over and press firmly to other side. Crease with fork to ensure pastry is sealed. Place your empanadas on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Pierce the top of your empanadas ever so slightly so that air can escape while cooking without exploding the empanada.

Combine beaten egg with water and brush egg wash over top of empanada. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust turns a light golden brown. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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