Heirloom Tomato Pie

4.6
(10)

When heirloom tomatoes are ripe on the vine, it's time for this Southern summer classic.

Active Time:
30 mins
Stand Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
8 serves

If you are a fan of tomato pies, you know they can often be soggy and unappetizing. Raw tomatoes (which are fabulous in BLT sandwiches) are naturally full of water, which tends to leach out as a tomato pie cooks, giving it a runny texture—one of the most common conundrums when making a tomato pie. It's enough to make a home cook throw their hands up in frustration.

However, you don't have to give up on tasty tomato pies if you use this tip: Roast most of the tomatoes before the pie goes into the oven.

Not only does this simple step keep the filling from being too wet, but it also caramelizes the tomatoes, intensifying their flavor. You can even roast them up to a day in advance. When they have cooled, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

With this tip and our recipe, you can churn out savory tomato pies all summer long.

What Is Tomato Pie?

A recent Southern culinary invention, tomato pie is thought to have begun to grace tables and sideboards starting in the 1970s. This dish is the perfect summer meal with a flaky pastry and a savory, roasted tomato filling. It is typically covered with grated cheese and mixed with mayonnaise to add a salty and creamy tang.

Some have suggested that mayonnaise companies invented it to help push the product. Whoever first created the pie, we're eternally grateful!

What Ingredients Are in a Tomato Pie?

Besides roasted tomatoes, other quality ingredients play a role in creating a tasty tomato pie. Creamy Duke's Mayonnaise helps bind the pastry together, while adding a touch of tang. Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese has a bolder flavor than regular sharp Cheddar and contains less moisture, helping keep the filling firm. Dijon mustard adds a note of vinegar, balancing out the sweetness of the tomatoes and the richness of the buttery crust.

Tomato Pie vs. Green Tomato Pie

Known as the "apple pies of summer," green tomato pies are typically spiced and sweetened with sugar and cinnamon. Baked in this way, green tomatoes may remind you of the tart and crisp Granny Smith apple or rhubarb, which is why they are ideal for sweeter pies.

At Christmas, Southern bakers sub green tomatoes into mincemeat pies for the more commonly used apples and brandy, cloves, and nutmeg.

How Is Southern Tomato Pie Different From Italian Tomato Pie?

More closely resembling pizza, Italian Tomato pie has a yeasted bread base and is covered in a cooked-down tomato sauce. Some versions are topped in Pecorino Romano cheese or oregano.

How to Store Leftover Tomato Pie

Leftover Heirloom Tomato Pie must be refrigerated. Store slices or parts of the pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The pie will last up to three days in the fridge and can be reheated at 325°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Do not freeze tomato pie. The ingredients do not withstand the process.

Like all pies, this one is best the day it's baked. The crust will get soggy after a few days.

Editorial Contribution by Alexandra Emanuelli.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds assorted medium to large heirloom tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices, diced

  • 2 large shallots, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tsp.)

  • 6 ounces aged extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 large egg

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • Minced fresh chives

Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded (about 1 packed cup)

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • ¼ cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cubed

  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut tomatoes into ½-inch-thick slices. Place about 7 or 8 slices (enough to cover top of pie) on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Cover with additional paper towels, and reserve.

  2. Arrange remaining tomatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased wire rack set on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bake in preheated oven until wilted and slightly dried out, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

  3. Make Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust. Instructions are below.

  4. While pie crust cools, cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high until fat is beginning to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots, and cook until bacon is crisp and shallots are caramelized, 6 to 7 more minutes. Stir in garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Cool 20 minutes.

  5. Stir together cheese, mayonnaise, basil, chives, Dijon, and egg until combined. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold in bacon mixture.

  6. Gently spread a third of cheese mixture onto cooled Parmesan-Buttermilk Crust; layer with half of the roasted tomato slices in slightly overlapping pattern. Spread another third of cheese mixture on top of tomato slices. Repeat with remaining roasted tomato slices and cheese mixture. Top with reserved sliced fresh tomatoes, pressing filling gently into crust. Shield edges of pie with aluminum foil.

  7. Bake in preheated oven until filling is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let stand 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with basil and chives.

Instructions for Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust

  1. Pulse flour, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in food processor until combined. Add butter and shortening. Pulse until butter and shortening are pea size pieces, about 5 times. Drizzle in buttermilk processing until dough begins to just come together. Gather and lightly knead dough into a ball on a large piece of plastic wrap; flatten into disk and wrap tightly. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll dough on a floured surface into a 15- to 16-inch circle about 1/3 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim edges leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold edges under and crimp. Freeze dough at least 20 minutes.

  3. Line piecrust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400°F 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights and bake until edges are golden and bottom of crust is set, about 8 more minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe in a pie pan with serving pieces nearby
    Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Tips

Whether using store-bought or homemade dough, don't forget to blind-bake the crust (bake it a bit on its own) before adding the filling. This extra step will keep the crust from turning soggy as the pie bakes.

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