The weather has been wretched in New Jersey but my patio tomato plants are producing a compact and heavy crop. After a recent storm, two plants were split in half, as if struck by lightning. My choice was either to let the green tomatoes rot and get eaten by make The Old Farmer's Almanac prizewinner recipe on the calendar page of July, Green Tomato Pie, submitted by Janice Nostrum from Humboldt, Iowa at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa.

I read the ingredients and directions about seven times, as the day got hotter and hotter. Since my old kitchen has no air conditioning, I did not preheat the oven to 450 degrees F., nor did I make my own pie crust from scratch. This is what I did and it turned out surprisingly good:

I lightly oiled a 9-inch glass pie pan, then unrolled a premade pie crust, fitting it to the pan. Sliced 6 medium green tomatoes very thin, placed them into a bowl with 5 Tbs. lemon juice, 3 tbs. soy flour, 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, a handful of raisins, and a pinch of salt. Slowly mixed all of this, thinking it will not fool the guys or pass for dessert, unless I don't tell them what kind of pie it is. I poured the mixture into the unbaked crust and covered it with another premade crust, sealing the edges and cutting a "few decorative vents" in the shape of a Z, like Zorro, something I've done all my life.

I baked the pie at approximately 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes, then covered it with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Total cooking time was 45 minutes. As the cook, I sampled a piece while still warm...never would have guessed the main ingredient was green tomatoes; a little too sweet for my taste but I had substituted brown sugar for white and lessened the amount by 1/3 cup. My husband said it was crisp, both tart and sweet and he had no idea what fruit I used, but it was good with chocolate ice cream on the side. He also said it was unusual, like me, with a big grin on his face. My sons were busy with two of their nephews, all claiming to be too full from dinner. I would try my variation of the original again, adding walnuts and even less brown sugar.

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