Archive for August, 2008

Sweet green tomato pies with almond paste and lemon

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

We had a minor storm last night and when I woke up this morning some of the branches on the tomato plants were broken. I went out on the terrace in the pouring rain to raise the fallen plants, thinking about all those green tomatos on the broken branches and what to do with them. I first thought of making a green tomato jam, but after looking in one of the cookbooks I saw a green tomato pie recipe. Aha, perfect! I didn’t follow the recipe at all (except for the fact that I used green unripe tomatos) and decided that the tomatos would go well with almond paste and lemon. So I collected all my unripe tomatos, put on my kitchen music (the best of Dean Martin) and just after hearing the first tones F shouted from the ground flour asking what I was baking. For a second I didn’t know what I should say. Should I tell him about my crazy plan, with the risk of having to eat everything by myself as he sometimes is a bit fuzzy with vegetables and vegetable cakes? But I was honest and he answered that it sounded “interesting” wondering how on earth such a thing could be edible…

I used a Donna Hay recipe for the pastry and the filling was just a gamble that turned out excellent! Next time I’ll try with cinnamon instead of lemon or maybe something else. And there will be a next time because we both really liked these mini pies and I’m sure that by the end of summer I’ll end up with more unripe green tomatoes. If you’re tired of making green tomato jam or fried green tomatoes every time the summer ends to quickly or a storm splits your plants resulting in a lot of unripe tomatoes, bake these sweet and delicious pies. As soon as you taste them you’ll forget all about bad weather and the end of the summer.

Unripe tomatoes of different kinds: yellow pear shaped, black cherry and bloody butcher.

    Mini green tomato pies with almond paste and lemon
    (makes 5 pies, using 12 cm * 2 cm metal pie tins)

    basic vanilla pastry (adapted from Donna Hay):
    250 gram flour
    1 tbsp icing sugar
    180 gram unsalted butter, cold and chopped
    80 ml ice water
    1 vanilla pod, the interior

    180 gram unripe tomatoes, mixed sorts (mostly cherry tomatoes)
    200 gram almond paste
    50 gram unsalted butter, softened
    zest from one lemon
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier
    0.5 tbsp flour

    milk for brushing
    caster sugar to sprinkle on top of pies

    Combine flour, sugar, vanilla and butter in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. While still running the food processor, add water little by little until a smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

    Grate almond paste and combine with softened butter. Chop the tomatoes coursly. Add tomatoes, lemon zest, Grand Marnier and flour to the butter/almond paste mixture. Combine.

    Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (convection oven). Lightly grease the metal tins with butter.
    Take 2/3 of the pastry and roll out to 3-4 mm thick. Cut out 5 rounds, around 2 cm wider than the tins. Line the pie tins with the pastry and trim the edges.

    Divide the tomato filling between the pies. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut in strips. Arrange the strips on the pies to a lattice pattern. Press and trim the edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pies are golden.

Filling with tomatoes and almond paste

Horseradish aioli

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Aioli, garlic mayonnaise, is really simple to make and easy to vary. Try to combine it with your favourite spice or herb. I found the below delicious variant with horseradish when I was googling for horseradish recipes. This aioli doesn’t contain too much garlic as it puts the horseradish in first place. With this recipe I finally got an opportunity to use the Ramsons vinegar that I got from Anne. Ramsons is wild garlic and was perfect to use in the aioli. I served the aioli with grilled salmon and bulgur with fresh vegetables; yummy!

    Horseradish aioli
    (source: Gefle Dagblad)

    2 egg yolks
    200 ml mild olive oil
    1 tsp vinegar (I used vinegar with Ramsons)
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
    2 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
    Maldon sea salt
    black pepper
    1 tbsp warm water

    Whip egg yolks, vinegar and mustard with an electric beater.
    Gradually add olive oil in a thin stream, beating constantly. When light and creamy add a tablespoon of warm water. Add garlic and horseradish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.