Nothing screams SOUTHERN! and SUMMER! louder than a fresh baked tomato pie. Whether you grow your own, have good friends that like to share their harvest, or enjoy trips to the Farmer’s Market – a great tomato pie recipe should be in your repertoire. Ironically, after my mom brought over these about-to-burst-from-ripe-juicy-goodness tomatoes, I realized I didn’t have a tomato pie recipe….because I had never actually made a tomato pie.
So I go where any searching chef (ok, so I’m not a chef, I’m a home cook…but I like the alliteration, so I’m rolling with it) goes for new recipes – the Interwebs. A quick Google* search for “tomato pie” yields a ton of recipes….where to begin? First on the list was a Paula Deen recipe – a ton of basil, but otherwise didn’t look too exciting. Next up, Simply Recipes – similar to the first, but with the addition of onions, and hot sauce. Getting better! Moving down the line, Taste of Home introduced bacon – now that’s what I’m talking about!
But then this search came to a screeching halt. I was looking for differences and uniqueness among the recipes, and I wasn’t expecting this gleaming commonality. I’d only looked at 3 recipes, but so far all three included my arch-nemesis – Mayonnaise! You’ve GOT to be kidding me….please don’t tell me the goopy grossness is a key ingredient to a good tomato pie. I’ve never detected it’s presence in any savory slice (apparently I’m on an alliteration kick….) of ‘mater pie I’d previously consumed…. So I went straight to a reliable source – Southern Living. And there it was….mayonnaise…. Alright, I concede…mayo will be an ingredient in this pie. But I will make damn sure that not one of my taste buds will ever know! Mayo aside, the SL recipe looked the best.
It started with a bacon and sour cream whole wheat crust. Yes, they actually crumbled 8 slices of bacon and put it in the crust. I reserved my bacon (and only 3 slices) for the filling. The choice is yours on that one. But the sour cream (in lieu of water) was appealing. Despite being a slightly temperamental dough to work with (just work slowly while rolling and transferring to your pie plate), the result was ideal – light, flaky and full of flavor.
The filling looked pretty good too – sliced tomatoes, a blend of fresh herbs, and a mayonnaise and cheese spread. With the addition of the bacon and some lightly caramelized onions, this was rounding out to be my ideal tomato pie. Also, SL had a unique addition – apple cider vinegar to the mayo/cheese mixture. Perfect! Exchange that for a little balsamic, and I knew that mayo taste would be obliterated.
After almost an hour in the oven, the kitchen aromas were intense. The Man came home and instantly started drooling over the cooling pie. Then I dropped the bomb – we have to wait at least two hours. Like any pie, cutting in too soon will result in a soupy mess. It was hard, but we held out! And it was absolutely worth the wait! Enjoy :)
*Google is used as a verb here. I actually use Yahoo! for searching.
Sour Cream Crust
- 1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
- 1 C. self-rising flour
- 1 C. butter, cubed
- 3/4 C. sour cream
In a food processor, pulse flours until combined. Add in butter, pulse until consistency of small peas. Add in sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Do not over work. Wrap in plastic wrap, form into a disk, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 13 inch round. Transfer to a lightly greased pie plate, and crimp the edges. Refrigerate until needed (at least 30 minutes).
- Sour cream crust
- 2 1/4 lb. tomatoes (divided)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 onions, sliced into rings
- 1/2 C. mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 C. parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 – 4 T. fresh chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, chives)
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 T. cornmeal
Cut 2 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
Brown bacon in a skillet. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of bacon fat, and saute onions until soft and lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes).
In a small bowl, combine mayo, egg, cheeses, herbs, salt and pepper.
To assemble : Remove formed pie dough from fridge. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal. Layer in 1/2 of tomatoes, slightly overlapping. Spoon in half of onions and half of the bacon. Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture evenly over tomatoes. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 1/4 pound of tomatoes (that have not been salted). Season with fresh cracked pepper.
Bake at 425F for 40-45 minutes. Cover edges with foil, if needed to protect crust. Allow pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie