The pictures I’ve taken for this post don’t do this pie any justice. This is one of the most awesomest, tastiest things I’ve ever made.
Tomatoes are high up on the flavor scale for me, up there with ChOcOlAtE (if you can believe that) Ya can’t compare the two I know… but chocolate is…my sweet addiction, tomatoes-my savory. As a kid I’d even tell people, “When I get to heaven there’s gonna be chocolate streams and tomato plants everywhere!”
Tomato pie is popular in the south but not found really anywhere in this area. We are knee deep in the tomato season which runs from July to early November here in Georgia and I was trying to think of some different things I could do with all the lovely tomatoes I have at my disposal. I started my research and stumbled upon tomato pie. Besides being filled with thinly sliced tomatoes, most recipes call for a mayonnaise based cheese topping. I figured it had to be good since it was dealing with one of my favorite combinations, tomatoes and mayonnaise. A lot of recipes I read said the heavy mayo flavor was a bit of a turn off, so I used only 1/2 of a cup for this recipe. The mix of cheeses was also a variable in many of the recipes. There were recipes for Cheddar based to Parmesan to everything in between. I decided on a mix of two of my favorite cheeses, Parmesan and Mozzarella. Feel free to experiment with your favorites as well.
Many people used a pre-baked pie crust for their recipes but I wanted to go grandma style on this and do a lard/butter pie crust. Homemade and store bought are worlds apart in my opinion. I didn’t even know I liked pie crust until culinary school where we were taught how to make it. Whenever I ate pie before that point I always left the crust on the plate. But now? It’s my favorite part!
The lard in this recipe can be substituted with shortening or all butter (which is delicious too:) ). The main thing you wanna NOT do is over mix your dough. This dough is incredibly easy to make and literally takes about two minutes in a food processor. So why buy store bought? And who cares if it’s ugly? This pie is surely not the prettiest thing you’ll ever eat- but boy, lemme tell you- you’ll keep this recipe in your personal arsenal of favorites!
The pie crust recipe below is Alton Brown’s and you’ll find the recipe and video here (which is super helpful). I love the idea he has with using a Ziploc bag not only for storing the dough while it rests in the fridge, but using it to roll out the pastry as well (without dirtying your counter tops).
6 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Lard
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
1/4 Cup Water, Iced
Make sure your fats (in this case your lard and butter are super cold…like put in the freezer cold). Mix Flour, Salt, and Sugar in bowl of food processor. Add in butter and pulse until butter is in pea sized clumps. Add lard and pulse just a couple of times until it is in small chunks as well. Through food processor feeder slowly add half the water and pulse a couple of times. If it’s still super floury add rest of water. Check the dough and see if it holds together like this:
Once it’s looking like the dough in the video, remove it from the food processor and put it in a Ziploc bag. Gently shape it into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I left mine in the fridge for about an hour while I prepared everything else.
1 Small Vidalia Onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, pulled from stems and chopped
1 3/4 pounds Tomatoes ( I used a 1 1/2 pounds Roma/Plum Tomatoes and about 6 ounces of baby Heirlooms), thinly sliced, skin on
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
Set oven to 425 degrees. Lightly salt tomato slices and place in a colander to drain (either in the sink or over a plate) for at least 30 minutes. Once tomatoes have drained pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any extra moisture. This prevents the tomatoes from releasing too much liquid and making your beautiful pie crust soggy. In this recipe I also used Roma tomatoes for a reason. They have a lot less water content and maintain their structure better.
Cook onion on medium heat with butter until translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in thyme. Set to side.
Lightly flour counter top (or use Alton’s method). Remove crust from refrigerator and roll out on floured surface with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness. When rolling out check every now and again to make sure the dough is not sticking to the counter. Lightly sprinkle the top with flour and flip over with a spatula if it’s starting to stick. You may need to repeat this a few times. Once dough is rolled out sprinkle with flour again and gently fold over and place in prepared pie pan. Push pie gently against bottom and sides and remove any dough overhangs.
Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom crust:
Cover crust with parchment paper, and fill 32 ounces of dried beans; making sure to slightly press them into the crust. Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans from crust and bake crust another 10 to 15 minutes longer until crust is golden.
Cool crust completely on rack.
Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Mix together the mayo and cheeses. Season with pepper. Taste for salt and add if needed. Layer tomatoes (leaving the heirlooms for last) in cooled crust. Top with onion mixture. Spread on cheese filling and top with baby heirloom tomatoes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. If edges of pie crust are browning too quickly, cover sides with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
Let sit 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This pie is amazing still warm from the oven! What do YOU do with all your summer tomatoes? Their flavor is amazing right now. Comment below with your favorite tomato recipes:) I can’t wait to hear from you!