Bren from Green Bay, WI (2017 Week 9: Pie)




Green Bay, WI

Baking Challenge

Cherry Pie

Give your pie a clever name – and tell us about your crust and filling.

Green Cherry Tomato Pie. My recipes are of the historical variety for this twist on classic cherry pie. Our cherries have been long gone at Heritage Hill State Park where I baked this pie in our historic 1905 Belgian farm house. Our gardens are now producing cherry sized tomatoes. The bakers of this historic time period would bake with what they had available so that nothing would be wasted. They used fruits and vegetables that we do not commonly rely upon today such as green tomatoes. I baked with a standard pie crust of flour, lard, salt and water. This combination produces a very light and flaky crust that bakes well in the wood stove. My filling was a simple fruit pie filling calling for green tomatoes, enough sugar to sweeten, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I have baked this pie before and knew that green tomatoes can be very juicy, so to thicken the pie, I added flour and cornstarch. I also used the lattice top to allow a little more of the steam to escape which helped make a thicker pie as well.

Was your pie underbaked, overbaked or just right? What was your favorite part of the process?

When I first put the green cherry tomato pie in the wood stove, my fire was running a little on the hot side, so my crust baked a little faster than I would have liked. So, I slowed the oven down which allowed for the tomatoes to bake. It looked perfect when I took it out, however, after tasting the pie, I would have liked the tomatoes to be cooked just a bit more as they were not as tender as I would have liked. Overall, though, I was pleased with the crust, flavors and composition of the pie. My favorite part of baking this pie was the reaction of people touring the Belgian Farm house. When I told them that I was making a green tomato pie, they were often very surprised as many of them had never considered it. Also, many people thought that it would be a savory pie and wondered what it would taste like. My best comparison is to an apple pie, as unripe tomatoes have a much milder flavor and firmer consistency then the fully ripened fruit.

How did you add a Wisconsin touch to your flavors or decoration?

My Wisconsin touch is that the tomatoes I used were grown at Heritage Hill State Park. I picked them fresh the morning that I baked the pie. Also, I used methods in baking that were appropriate for 1905 rural Wisconsin. Many European immigrant families baked with creative ingredients to use all of their garden bounty.

How did you do?

Pleasantly satisfied.