This is not a joke. Times were when I thought it would be a good April Fools’ Day recipe but that is not when Mainers have a slightly overgrown zucchini on hand, which this recipe calls for.
Apple pie seems susceptible to mock recipes: any mass of something fairly mild flavored — from crackers to zucchini — then sweetened then seasoned with lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg, can pass for apple pie. Meanwhile, in the next few weeks, this recipe can be the bridge between the waning supply of zucchini and the increasing supply of apples.
Marjorie Pinkham in Ellsworth sent me this recipe, observing, “This is so good, and how can this turn out to taste like apple pie!?!?” I guess as long as we associate a pie filling with cinnamon and nutmeg and a bit of sour and sweet tang, it’ll taste like apple pie.
Marjorie included a copy of the newspaper clipping that tells about the pie. That recipe, (submitted by Audrey Cleveland of Orland, California,) recommends using big zucchinis, overgrown but tender enough that you can stick your fingernail in the skin. Marjorie explains further that the zucchini ought to be cooked until crisp tender and that a 9-inch pie really needs 4 cups full in order not to seem skimpy. Of course, I suppose you could use an 8-inch pie plate instead. I found that to get 4 cups of cooked zucchini, I had to start with 6 cups of it raw. I quartered the zuke and then sliced each quarter crosswise.
Start with the prescribed amount of lemon and cinnamon. You may want a little more lemon flavor; an eighth of a teaspoon of nutmeg is fine — that is about 20 scrapes up and down of a whole nutmeg on a grater. Add more cinnamon if you like the spice. The cream of tartar is there for acidity.
Marjorie also noted that the filling is runny when you put it into the pastry-lined pie plate, but not to worry. So I didn’t.
Does it taste like apple pie? Sure, close enough. Niece Sarah and her sweet tooth loved it. Serve it with a blob of vanilla ice cream.
Zucchini “Apple” Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie.
6 cups raw zucchini slices, cut about ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons flour
Sufficient pastry for two crusts
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steam the zucchini until it is crisp tender; put in a bowl with lemon juice and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cream of tartar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.
Add the sugar mixture to the zucchini and stir to blend.
Line your pie plate with one of the crusts, add the filling and top with the second crust.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cool and serve.