Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dutch Zucchini Pie

Just about everybody in this big old world loves some Apple Pie.  It's one of the staple American Classics.  And I love it too, just like all of you.  And I thought that's what we were eating when my Mom made homemade "Apple" Pie every summer, ironically before apples were in season to bake fresh with.  But being young and not yet acquiring this knowledge from experience, nor noticing the presence of large white soft seeds in the center of the apple slices in my "Apple Pie".  Then, one day I can remember my Mom standing at the counter searching through her wooden log cabin recipe box that she and my father proudly made back in their wood working days together.  She said that she needed her Zucchini Pie recipe from Grandma Hazel.  Grandma Hazel was not technically a relative of ours, but a neighbor to us back in the late 70's and early 80's.  She grew amazing gardens and did amazing things with the harvests from them.  She was like a mentor to my young domestic Mother.  My Mom learned about making jams from fresh raspberries, canning different produce and how to bake with vegetables.  I then noticed the large zucchini's from our garden, that were in the drain board of the sink.  And I thought to myself (most likely, knowing me, it was out loud), "What is she talking about?  I thought she said that I could help her make the "Apple Pie?"  She just mindlessly kept pilfering through the little wooden box and said softly without turning to me, "You didn't know that it was made with zucchini instead of apples?  I don't know if I have ever even made an actual Apple Pie."  I was shocked.  Baffled more like it.  But I was dead crazy set certain that I DID NOT LIKE ZUCCHINI.  Not at all.  Not in any form or way that I had been forced to try.  I spent many hours sitting in front of my vegetables that I refused to eat.  I would describe myself as a "Table Camper" when I was little.  If I did not like the appearance, odor, color or idea of something I was not going to eat it.  What so ever.  They always gave in by bedtime though.  I was never left to sleep there too, but probably would have out of shear defiance. Yet, me and everyone else that had ever eaten my Mom's "Apple" Pie loved it.  And never thought twice as to it not being made out of apples. 

4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 cups of real unsalted butter (melted)
8 cups of zucchini (peeled, sliced and quartered like apples)
2/3 cups of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. of cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
cinnamon and sugar
vanilla bean ice cream

-Preheat your oven to 375*.  In a large mixing bowl, using a large fork, combine the flour, 2 cups of sugar, salt and butter until crumbly.  Grease two 9" glass pie dish's and pour about a quarter of the mixture into each of them; press evenly against the bottom and the sides to create the pie shells.  Toss the pie shells into the oven for 15 minutes or until they are golden.  Reserve the remainder of the mixture to the side for the topping.  In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the zucchini, lemon juice and sugar to a boil and simmer until the zucchini is softened and cooked down.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and the nutmeg.  Pour into your baked pie shells and top each one off with about half of the remaining topping mixture each.  Give each of them a good sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on top and  bake them off for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops are starting to lightly brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on the top of the stove.  Once cooled, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.  Serve warmed with vanilla bean ice cream.  Serves 8.  Enjoy!