Monday, August 19, 2013

Tomato and Cheddar Pie

This pie should be called summertime in a pie because eating one would be like savoring what are the essence of summer and labor of love in the mouth.  My parents grow several tomato plants among other vegetables in their backyard.  My dad would religiously water the garden a few times in the day and my mom would pick the weeds whenever possible, these plants are like their babies.  It makes sense to cultivate sun-loving plants in their plot because my two planter boxes in the backyard receive paltry sun rays, that growing anything is next to impossible.

My mom said to me when we picked tomatoes together that she really loved the smell of tomato plants and I couldn't disagree more!  To see these little orbs getting bigger and redder isn't unlike getting a prize--each oozes juicy and sweet liquid; it reminds us that the peak of summer is here even if it also means that it is winding down from here on.

This pie has a biscuity crust filled with layers of tomato slices and shredded cheese.  I used white cheddar whereas the original recipe uses the regular cheddar, hence my pie has a slight pale color.  There are other ways to eat summer tomatoes but for me, I like this pie--layer upon layer of cheese and tomatoes with a spread of mayonnaise mixture in between--my idea of comfort food in the heat of summer :)

Tomato and Cheddar Pie

Serves 8


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

1 cup buttermilk


2 lb. large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4" slices

2 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar (8-9 oz.)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (1/2 oz.)

1 scallion, trimmed, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoons cornmeal

Note:  Use a 9"-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish for this recipe

Make the crust:  Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms and some small lumps remain.  Stir in buttermilk and knead gently with your hands until dough forms.  Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

Make the filling:  Lay tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with 2 layer of paper towels.  Place another 2 layers of paper towels on top of tomatoes.  Let stand for 30 minutes to drain.

Preheat oven to 425 degree F.  Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an 11" round.  Remove top layer of plastic wrap.  Invert dough onto pie dish.  Carefully peel off plastic wrap.

Toss both cheeses in a medium bowl until evenly incorporated.  Reserve 1/4 cup of cheese mixture.  Whisk scallion, mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over bottom of crust, then top with 1/2 cup cheese mixture.  Arrange 1/3 of tomatoes over cheese, overlapping as needed.  Spread half of mayonnaise mixture (about 1/3 cup) over.  Repeat layering with 1 cup of cheese mixture, 1/2 of remaining tomato slices, and remaining mayonnaise mixture.  Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese mixture over, then remaining tomato slices.  Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup cheese mixture.  Fold overhanging crust up and over edges of tomato slices.

Bake pie until crust is golden and cheese is golden brown, 35-40 minutes (check crust halfway and tent with foil if it's getting too dark).  Let pie cool at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before slicing and serving.

Source:  Bon Appetit, August 2011

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