Emily Cooks the Web: Southern-Style Tomato Pie

Every winter, I have a simple craving. More than anything in the world, I crave biting into sweet, juicy, garden-ripened cherry tomatoes. So, when tomato season comes around, I literally can’t get enough. I am so satisfied by the sweetness of a yummy handful of cherry tomatoes, that I can count it as dessert. (Crazy, I know.)

We haven’t had the privilege of a backyard garden for quite a few summers, so when our friends offered us a portion of their bounty (more specifically, a record crate full of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and beets), we jumped on the opportunity. Jay and I stood at our kitchen counter with fresh mozzarella, oil, and a bottle of aged balsamic, eating handfuls of freshly cut tomatoes directly from the cutting board. And my mouth is watering.

So, I’ve been into making pies lately. Like, really, really into making them. So into them, that I have been waking up at 6 a.m. every other day or so just to experiment. And when I come home from a long day of running around town as the brand ambassador for FLL, all I want to do is make a pie. Why? I don’t know, but I’m going with it. I’ve been making so many sweet and decadent pies lately, I felt it was time for a change.

I looked at several recipes for southern-style tomato pie and found one I really liked by Paula Deen. The only changes I made were omitting the onion (only because we didn’t have any), using some leftover cheddar cheese crust (inspired by Martha Stewart’s recipe) I had used for an apple-cheddar pie, and adding in smoked gouda to the mixture of cheese.

There is a lot of room to play around with this recipe. So, get creative! We had friends over to taste test, and they attacked the pie and went back for seconds!

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Martha Stewart’s Cheddar Cheese Crust (makes two crusts):

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Directions:

  1. Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter.
  2. Pulse until pea-sized lumps appear. Pulse in the cheese.
  3. With processor running, add ice water; process just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out; [cut in half and] gather into a block. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days. [Makes double crust. Cut recipe in half if necessary, or throw one in the freezer for another experiment.]
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Paula Deen’s Tomato Pie (please note the pre-baked pie crust):

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 (9-inch) pre-baked deep dish pie shell
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
  3. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together.
  5. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
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To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Cheddar Crust: http://www.marthastewart.com/313508/cheddar-crust
Tomato Pie: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/tomato-pie-recipe.html