“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” – Laurie Colwin
The weather forecast is predicting snow and Halloween is still a few days away. I would like to say this is an unusual occurrence here at Pure Grace Farms but unfortunately it is not. Snow can arrive here as early as the last week in October and may last well into March. I am always a bit dismayed this time of year. The coming weather is not the cause of my dismay. I look forward to the snow and all the fun activities that come with it. My dismay is rather directly related to the 3 large boxes of home grown green tomatoes that sit in my basement.
Many of those tomatoes will slowly turn red over the coming weeks and will gladly be put to use in soups, sauces and salads. But some of those tomatoes will stubbornly remain green, leaving me with the problem I seem to deal with year after year, “What in the world will I do with all of those home grown green tomatoes?”
There are an abundance of recipes for jams ,jellies and preserves readily available for green tomatoes and some of them look downright sinful, but after further thought I discarded this idea. We rarely eat jams or preserves. Right now sitting on my pantry shelves are several jars of preserves, jellies, syrups, and jams from last years canning as evidence to that fact. Strike this idea off my list.
My next idea was more fruitful (no pun intended). How about using the tomatoes as the fruit that they are, and look for different ways to use them as a dessert. Bingo, eureka, voila!
Here was an idea I could use. So, for the next few posts I will be doing a series on the delectable delicious uses for green tomatoes in a dessert. The first way I decided to use them is like an apple filling, with nuts, raisins and cinnamon to place inside my cinnamon rolls.
Making these rolls was a lot of fun and the results came out really delicious. Most of the experiment went pretty smoothly until I came to the glaze. It was my intention to make a simple powdered sugar glaze until I discovered I had only 1/3 cup of powdered sugar on hand. A quick check in the fridge revealed cream cheese and fortunately the day was saved.
I actually preferred the rolls with the cream cheese glaze instead of the powdered sugar glaze. The cinnamon rolls are sweet enough with the green tomato filling and the cream cheese gives a little balance to the sweetness. Quite tasty for my first experiment. Check them out for yourself and let me know what you think.
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cups white whole wheat flour ( if you don't have, use whole wheat or all-purpose)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- 4 cups finely chopped green tomatoes
- 1 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine (or lemon juice)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Sweet Roll Dough
- Green Tomato Filling
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1/4 cup nuts, chopped
- Warm 1/2 cup water and the milk in a saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100 degrees F to 110 degrees F. Remove from the heat.
- Pour into large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle with a pinch of the sugar; set aside, undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture until combined.
- Add flour, the remaining sugar, the salt and nutmeg.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick and slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 6 minutes.
- Shape into a ball.
- Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough, turning to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.
- Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly to release excess air; re-form into a ball and return to the bowl. allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Drain tomatoes in strainer for 10 minutes.
- In a saucepan, combine tomatoes, brown sugar, raisins and wine (lemon juice).
- Simmer, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from the heat, set aside to cool.
- Place cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk in mixing bowl.
- Beat until well blended. Check consistency. If too dry for drizzling at milk 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Once sweet roll Dough has rested, Roll out into rectangle about 12" x 8" thick
- Spread softened butter gently onto dough stopping 1/2" from the edge one of the 12" sides (it helps to create a good seal when rolling the dough up if 1/2" of dough is plain).
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped nuts and cinnamon.
- Spread cooled fruit filling onto dough atop of butter, leaving that same 1/2" of dough plain.
- Carefully roll up dough starting at far side from plain dough. Once rolled pinch roll together at edge to form seal.
- Slice dough into 1" rounds and place in well buttered baking pan, with sides just touching one another. Do not overcrowd as rolls will rise.
- Allow rolls to rise about 30 minutes.
- Place in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Check rolls. The bottom part of the rolls will take a bit longer because of the added filling. If need be place aluminum lightly over rolls to prevent over browning and return pan to the oven for additional 10-15 minutes.
- Allow rolls to cool about 5 minutes and then drizzle glaze on top of rolls.
- sprinkle walnuts on top of glaze.
- Serve warm.
- I suggest you start the tomato filling first before you begin the sweet roll dough. Depending on the moisture content of your green tomatoes, it could take quite a while to cook down to the desired consistency. To help the cooking time, be sure you allow your green tomatoes to drain and if they are especially wet, squeeze them a bit to allow some of that moisture to drain before you start cooking. You can also pop them in the refrigerator to help with the cooling time once they are at the desired consistency.