Foodie Friday Treat With a Trick: Zucchini Mock Apple Pie
Here's a treat with a trick and not a single apple was harmed in the making of this recipe for Zucchini Mock Apple Pie. Halloween or harvest, this is a different way to use the summer vegetable harvest.
You get the yellow color of apples and the right texture by simmering the thin slices of zucchini in water and vinegar before adding the classic apple pie flavors.
Here are a couple tips: For a flakey pie crust, freeze your sticks of margarine or butter solid then use a box grater to grate the butter into your flour. It works better than incorporating even small cubes of butter into the flour.
For slicing the zucchini, if you have a mandoline, use it carefully (they're really sharp) and leave the stem on the ends of the halved zucchini so you are less likely to slice your finger as you get toward the end.
Treat With a Trick: Zucchini Mock Apple Pie (prep; time about 1 hour make & 1 hour bake. Makes 1 double-crust pie: 4-6 servings.. 8 if you're stingy.)
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 sticks frozen margarine or butter (grated into flour with box grater)
1/2 C. cold water.
Grate butter into flour and slowly stir in just enough water for dough to just come together. Divide into two portions and turn out onto plastic wrap and loosely form into a disc. Wrap and put in freezer for 20 minutes or put in refrigerator for longer if needed. Dough can be frozen but must be thawed before rolling.
3 medium zucchinis, peeled and cut lengthwise (about 6 cups, sliced)
1 C. water
1 T. red wine vinegar*
1 tsp. lemon zest* (substitute 2 T. lemon juice for vinegar and zest if you have it)
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (more or less to taste. I like cinnamon a lot so I used 1 full tsp. when I first made the recipe. I didn't mind, but it may have been a little strong.)
1/4 tsp. each ground ginger, grated nutmeg
2 Tb. butter or margarine
After cutting the zucchini in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds in the center then slice the squash 1/8 inch thick (easy and fast to get uniform slices on a mandolin.)
Bring water and vinegar to a simmer in a large cast-iron fry pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini slices. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until zucchini becomes tender and turns yellow.
Drain well in a colander and allow to cool to room temperature.
While zucchini slices are cooling pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Roll out bottom crust for pie and place in pie pan. Place in refrigerator until ready to fill.
Toss cooled zucchini in flour, sugar, spice mixture to coat well. Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Roll out chilled top crust large enough to cover pie with about a half-inch overhang all around. dot the top of the filling with bits of the 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Wet your fingers and run all along the edge of the bottom crust before placing top crust and pressing down into the damp edges to seal. Trim the edges and crimp using fingers or tines of a fork. If you have rips in your crust, just take scraps of dough, dampen the areas around the tear with water and press the patch in place.
Beat the egg with a little water and brush on the top of the crust to help in browning. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and cut a few 1" slices in the top to allow for steam to vent. Fold strips of foil over outside edge crust to prevent over-browning.
Place pan on foil lined baking sheet to catch any bubble-over. Bake at 350 for about an hour until top is golden brown. Remove the foil and move the pie to the top rack for the final 5 minutes of baking to brown the rim without burning.
Allow pie to cool at least a half hour before slicing to allow the liquid to set up.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
(Before the ice cream part, if you are using margarine, this recipe can be totally dairy free if needed, Pie crust comes out just fine using margarine instead of real butter.)