This time of August a Wisconsin gardener typically has as many zucchinis as a mule has flies. Zucchini has been steamed, boiled, grilled, baked into breads and casseroles, and still, free-for-the-taking zucchinis languish on office break-room tables. Even some food pantry workers sigh when they see more zucchini arrive. What to do with all that zucchini?
I have only 4 zucchini plants, which although I’m a firm believer in ‘waste not – want not, are producing about 50% more zucchini than I want. For two weeks, I’ve brought zucchini to the table in a variety of recipe forms. Fortunately, zucchini is one vegetable that my kids eat without complaining, but at this point I’m using up my zucchini capital. I needed an unusual zucchini recipe to re-spark our taste for this prolific, green squash.
Searching through cookbooks, I noticed that my cookbooks written by Wisconsin farm women had more zucchini recipes than the others. I wasn’t surprised. But I was intrigued by the re-occurrence of one unusual recipe: a recipe for zucchini pie. I guess it makes sense. Wisconsin farm women typically have large gardens. They grow a lot of food and are not about to waste it. If they grow it, by gosh, their family is going to eat it and be thankful. But even these stoic women run out of patience with zucchini. Desperate to find one more way to transfer zucchini from the crisper into their children’s stomachs, they invented zucchini pie. Oh, it’s not much of an invention really, more of a modification. To make zucchini pie, all you do is bake an apple pie, but substitute zucchini for the apples.
“Yuk!” you exclaim? No, not really. My family liked it. Admittedly, it wasn’t as good as apple pie, but it was a bit more nutritious, and far easier to make. Plus, the recipe calls for “one LARGE zucchini”. So if you just found one of those monster zucchinis that’s been growing hidden under a leaf for far too long in your garden, this recipe for zucchini pie is the one you need. Click on “Continue reading…” for the recipe for zucchini pie and pictures of our cow tea party at which we ate a zucchini cheese pie for dinner and our zucchini pie for dessert.
This particular zucchini pie recipe is found in the “Kids’ Recipes” section of the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition cookbook called: From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce. The folks at Twinhawks Hollow Farm contributed the recipe to the MACSAC cookbook.
- 1 big zucchini
- apple pie spices to taste (I used mostly cinnamon, with a bit of allspice, ginger, and nutmeg)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pastry for double pie crust
Cut the zucchini into slices, – as you would an apple, – and mix with spices, flour, and sugar. Fill pie crust pastry, and bake as you would an apple pie.
My zucchini was gigantic, so I cut it lengthwise in half and scooped out the seeds before cutting it up. I had enough zucchini for two pies, so I doubled the recipe. I also dotted the pie filling with tabs of butter (about 1 1/2 T per pie) before putting on the top crusts. I baked the pies for about 50 minutes at 375 degrees F. I served it with vanilla ice cream, and at my son’s request, blue moon ice cream, – another Wisconsin favorite.
But this zucchini pie recipe only used up one of the zucchinis in my refrigerator. What to do with the three smaller ones? I turned these into a zucchini cheese pie for dinner. This recipe is a work in progress and definitely not ready for prime time. But if you are as desperate for novel zucchini recipes as I am, I offer it as a vegetarian dinner possibility.
In a food processor, I shredded the three zucchini, one medium onion, and 2 cloves garlic. I poured the mixture into an unbaked pie crust, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. To use up some cream cheese in the ‘fridge, I dotted the mixture with about 4 ounces of cream cheese then smothered the whole pie in shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.
We ate it for dinner, and the kids ate their whole pieces. But my nine-year-old offered her opinion that it was “really good, except for the zucchini. Next time leave that out.” It was obvious that she missed the point of the meal. But I got a lot of green vegetable into her, more than I usually get her to consume in one sitting, so she might be eating zucchini cheese pie again soon.
And the cow? We ate our zucchini pies tea-party style on the floor in my daughter’s bedroom. The only animal invited to join us was her holstein beenie purchased at UW-Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy. Little did the miniature bovine know, a rare white tiger lurked behind.