The problem with zucchini is how fast they grow. Leave your garden unintended for a beach trip and you’ll come back to find those green batons have morphed into baseball bats.
The really big zucchini aren’t easy to use: Once they get longer than your hand, they also become tough. The really big ones are best for the compost bin. But if you wind up with a pile of large zucchini, not monsters, it’s time to pull out the Mock Apple Pie.
America has a long history with fake pies, most stemming from the desperation of the Depression: There’s the Mock Apple Pie from the back of the Ritz Cracker box, where a hot syrup is poured over crumbled Ritz crackers in a pie shell. There’s the kidney bean version of pecan pie, where the cheap beans take on the crunchiness of nuts.
Zucchini versions of apple pie, like this one from Dori Sanders, the novelist and cookbook author from Filbert, South Carolina, fall into that same category. During World War II, apples got expensive. Transporting fruit from one area of the country to another wasn’t easy to do when rail transportation and gasoline were saved for the troops. Zucchini were easy to grow in victory gardens, and they came into season long before apples were on the trees.
Why revisit a pie like this today? Well, it does give us some appreciation of how people dealt with scarcity. But it’s also a good pie. It’s not as sweet as a real apple pie, and has a more complex flavor. Zucchini, even peeled, keep a hint of green at the edges, looking a lot like Granny Smith slices.