A Nutty and Buttery Crust is Filled with Green Tomato Jam for a Show Stopping Dessert.
I’ve long wanted to make a green tomato jam tart ever since I first read about it in Rosetta Costantino’s wonderful cookbook, My Calabria. When I ran into a load of green tomatoes last week, I decided now was the time. I changed a couple of things in her recipe for the green tomato jam, and went off on my own for the crust and the ice cream I made to serve with it.
First of all, let’s discuss the jam’s flavor. If you’ve ever eaten green tomatoes you know they are almost astringent in their flavor. I only added sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the jam. You commonly see cinnamon in it, but I didn’t want any warm spices in mine. It’s straightforward. Scoop the seeds out of the tomatoes, chop them up and cook them with the other ingredients until they’re nice and thick and gooey. I made it a couple of days before I made the tart.
I thought long and hard about what kind of crust I wanted and came up with a crust using plenty of ground almonds. I ended up with a crust similar to a linzer torte, but not at all the same. I didn’t use any warm spices in my crust, I went heavier on the butter, and added plenty of lemon zest and vanilla for my flavorings. At the suggestion of my son, I also added a small amount of finely ground black peppercorns to give the crust a slight peppery edge. The dough ended up being almost cookie-like. I pressed it into the bottom of the tart pan and par-baked it.
But it was such a soft and delicate dough I knew I’d have a difficult time rolling it out for my lattice strips. After doing a little research, I came upon a technique from Cook’s Illustrated that perfectly solved my problem.
I ended up rolling out the dough between sheets of heavily floured parchment, letting it chill on the parchment and then cutting it into lattice strips, while cutting all the way though the bottom layer of parchment. After popping it into the freezer for a little while, I ended up with strips I could place upside down on top of the filled tart and then simply peel off the layer of parchment paper. This worked so well!
After pressing the edges of the lattice onto the rim of the par-baked crust, I then cut little pieces of the remnants of dough and filled in the spaces between the lattice edges. It made for a really nicely finished top crust. After that it was only a matter of baking it and letting it cool enough to see if all this was gonna actually work out.
The nutty flavored crust with its hint of black pepper was great with the bright, sweet, and tart filling. Even though there are no ripe tomatoes in the jam, you still end up with a slight savory note that makes it so interesting and complex. I highly doubt anyone would ever guess the main ingredient in this jam. And the crust’s texture was exactly what I was hoping for. The large amount of butter made it so tender, yet crisp. I served each slice with a scoop of my Crème Fraîche, Orange, and Chocolate Ice Cream and all I can say is “Wow”.