September 24, 2014

2 Recipes for Tomato Pie - Photo by Judith Hausman (UrbanFarmOnline.com) #recipes #tomatoes #tomatopie

There’s still time to cook with tomatoes while they’re at their best, and one of my favorite ways to fix them is in tomato pie. I make two different versions depending on my mood or the setting in which I’ll serve them: One is elegant and the other is rustic, but both are delicious.

My go-to is the classic recipe, which layers the tomatoes with cheese and mayonnaise into a biscuit nest. (I’m not kidding, it’s delicious.) But when I recently stopped for lunch at a tiny, chic café in the Country Gentleman part of the Hudson Valley, I ate a lovely slice of savory pie with roasted vegetables arranged on top of a light ricotta base. Bingo! Still rustic but styled up a notch.

The more elegant, puff pastry “pie” can actually be made identically with sweet fruit or savory vegetables and includes more or less the same ingredients as the other, except for the egg or cheese base. I added baked zucchini slices and olives to the rustic pie and baked eggplant slices to the “fancy” one because I had them handy and ready to go. Be a purist and keep to just tomatoes if you like. I finished both pies with a drizzle of olive oil, a good handful of grated Parmesan and some basil chiffonade (thin ribbons) before serving. Thyme is a pretty garnish, too.

Avoid Soggy Crust

One of the biggest challenges with any tomato pie is to keep the juicy tomatoes from turning its crust into a soggy white paste. My solution is to bake the crust first, at least a little. If using puff pastry, just unfold it onto a silicon liner or sheet of parchment paper, prick it a few times, and let it puff up in

For a traditional pie crust, you could blind bake it with pie weights, but I have pretty good luck lining the pie plate with the dough and pricking the bottom of the crust. It won’t leak at all. I also like to slice the tomatoes thick and let them drain on paper towel before layering them on. Some recipes sprinkle a bit of flour or cornstarch on the tomato slices as you would for a fruit pie, but I haven’t tried that method.

Serving Suggestions

Both tomato pies are perfect lunch dishes, and we ate each as a light dinner, along with a frisee salad. If you double the recipe to line a larger, rectangular baking dish, squares of the pies make a good appetizer.

Recipe: “Fancy” Tomato Pie

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 portion puff pastry, defrosted and unfolded
  • 3-6 tomatoes, depending on size, sliced thickly
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • basil, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium eggplant or 1 medium zucchini, sliced thickly and baked (optional)

Preparation

Drain tomato slices on paper towel for 10 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put roll puff pastry sheet on silicon sheet or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until it begins to puff up, about 12 to 15 minutes. When the pastry has cooled briefly, make one layer of the sliced tomatoes (and other vegetables, if using) on top. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil before serving if desired.

Recipe: Rustic Tomato Pie

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 3 to 6 tomatoes, depending on size, sliced thicky
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • basil, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium eggplant or 1 medium zucchini, sliced thickly and baked (optional)
  • a few black olives (optional)

Preparation

Drain tomato slices on paper towel for 10 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line pie pan with pie crust dough, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, beat egg into ricotta together and season. When the pie crust has cooled briefly, spread ricotta mixture on bottom.

Stack sliced tomatoes (and other vegetables, if using) on top of filling. When crust is half full, drizzle olive oil and spread half the cheese. Repeat.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for 40 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil and black olives before serving if desired.

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