Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe

When summer rolls around, bringing with it the bounty of tomato season in the South, the heirloom tomato pie recipe becomes a sought-after dish that embodies the essence of Southern cooking.

Unlike the tomato pies you might find at your local meat-and-three, this version celebrates the peak of summer with juicy, sun-kissed heirloom tomatoes, making its debut alongside okra pods and watermelons under the Southern sun.

This dish is an essential part of a Southern summer, transcending the simplicity of raw tomatoes in BLT sandwiches.

The challenge of tomatoes releasing water and creating a runny texture has frustrated many a home cook.

However, the kitchen becomes a place of triumph as roasting tomatoes in the oven before assembling the pie ensures the filling remains perfect and not wet, as it caramelizes the flavor.

Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this savory delight can be enjoyed all summer long, thanks to this culinary invention from the 1970s.

With a flaky pastry, roasted tomato filling, grated cheese, and mayonnaise creating a salty, creamy base with just the right tang, mayonnaise companies are eternally grateful for this dish that has become a staple summer meal.

What Is Tomato Pie?

Tomato pie is a Southern culinary invention from the 1970s, celebrated as a quintessential summer meal.

It combines flaky pastry with a savory, roasted tomato filling, topped with grated cheese and mayonnaise for a salty, creamy base with a delightful tang.

This dish has become so popular that mayonnaise companies have seen their product become an integral part of making this beloved pie.

The Secret To The Perfect Tomato Pie

To make your tomato pies the talk of the summer, the top tip is to roast the tomatoes in the oven.

This step not only prevents a wet filling but also caramelizes the flavor of the tomatoes, enhancing the overall taste of the pie.

Do this a day in advance, let the tomatoes cool, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This prep work makes all the difference in creating a truly savory and unforgettable summer dish.

heirloom tomato tart

What Ingredients Are In A Tomato Pie?

Creating the best heirloom tomato pie recipe requires a selection of ingredients that bring together tang, sweetness, and richness:

  • Heirloom tomatoes provide the vibrant base with their juicy and sweeter tomatoes.
  • Duke’s Mayonnaise adds a tang that perfectly complements the tomatoes.
  • Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese introduces a bolder flavor and helps keep the moisture in check, making the filling firm.
  • A touch of Dijon mustard and vinegar enhances the sweetness of the tomatoes and adds richness to the pie.
  • Bacon and shallots, preferred for their milder taste compared to onions, enrich every bite.
  • Garlic and herbs like basil and chives infuse the pie with depth and freshness.
  • An egg helps bind the filling together, ensuring it’s solid and sliceable.

For the homemade pie crust, known as Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust, here’s what you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour ensures the texture of the homemade crust is just right.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for its strong, nutty flavor.
  • A mix of unsalted butter and vegetable shortening creates a flaky, crispy crust that’s both rich and buttery.
  • Buttermilk holds the crust together, adding lightness and tang.

How To Make Tomato Pie?

Prepare Tomato Slices

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut the tomatoes into ½-inch-thick slices and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of salt over the slices, then cover them with additional paper towels to reserve them for later use.

Roast Remaining Tomatoes

Place the rest of the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly greased wire rack over a large baking sheet. Season them with ½ teaspoon of salt, then roast in the preheated oven until they are wilted and slightly dried out, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let them cool completely for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, Make Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust

In a food processor, pulse together flour, cheese, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until combined. Add butter and shortening, pulsing until the mixture resembles pea-size pieces. Drizzle in buttermilk while processing until the dough just comes together. Gather the dough, knead it into a ball, then flatten it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 2 hours to 2 days.

Tomato Pie Vs. Green Tomato Pie

Often dubbed the “apple pies of summer,” green tomato pies stand out with their spiced and sweetened filling, much like a blend between a Granny Smith apple and rhubarb pie.

Unlike the traditional heirloom tomato pie recipe, green tomato pies are enriched with sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes even brandy, cloves, and nutmeg, drawing parallels to sweeter pies enjoyed around Christmas.

Southern bakers have long cherished green tomatoes not just for savory dishes but also for making mincemeat pies that rival those made with apples during the holiday season.

How To Store And Reheat Leftover Tomato Pie?

Keeping your leftover heirloom tomato pie recipe fresh involves storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

It can stay good for up to three days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat it in a 325°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

However, it’s best not to freeze the pie, as the ingredients do not withstand the freezing process well, and the crust may become soggy.

This pie is best enjoyed the day it is baked, but following these tips can still make it a delightful treat for a few days.

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of mixed medium to large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, divided
  • 6 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 6 ounces of aged extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of freshly chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chives, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • Additional fresh basil leaves and chopped chives for garnish

For The Parmesan-Buttermilk Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 packed cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of cold unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of cold solid vegetable shortening, chopped into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons of buttermilk

Instructions

Fit Dough To Pie Plate

Preheat your oven to 400°F. On a floured surface, roll out your dough into a 15- to 16-inch circle that’s 1/3 inch thick. Carefully transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim the edges to leave a 1-inch overhang, then fold it under and crimp to make it pretty. Freeze the dough in the plate for 20 minutes to firm it up.

Parbake Crust

Line the piecrust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then, remove the parchment and weights. Keep baking until the edges are golden and the bottom of the crust is set, which takes about 8 more minutes. Let it cool completely for 30 minutes.

Cook Bacon

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat renders and it starts to crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots and cook until they’re crisp and caramelized, another 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until it’s fragrant, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer everything to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Let it cool for 20 minutes.

Make Filling

Mix together cheese, mayonnaise, basil, chives, Dijon, and one egg until it’s all combined. Then, sprinkle in pepper and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fold in the bacon mixture you prepared earlier, ensuring everything is well incorporated.

Assemble Pie

Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the cooled Parmesan-Buttermilk Crust. Then, create a layer of roasted tomato slices in a slightly overlapping pattern. Add another third of the mixture on top and finish with a layer of reserved sliced fresh tomatoes, gently pressing them into the filling. Shield the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

Bake The Pie

Place the pie in a preheated oven and bake until the filling is set, which should take about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let it stand for 1 hour before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle additional basil and chives for a fresh touch. This method ensures whether you use store-bought or homemade dough, you’ll avoid a soggy crust.

Tips For Making The Best Tomato Pie

For a tomato pie that really stands out, consider using a shallow pie plate or tart pan.

Before adding them to the pie crust, drain and blot your tomatoes to remove excess moisture and prevent a soggy bottom.

Blind bake your crust and consider lining it with cheese before adding the tomatoes to create a barrier.

Always opt for quality ingredients, from grating your own cheese to selecting fresh tomatoes and high-quality mayo for the filling.

Variations For Heirloom Tomato Pie

Experimenting with different types of tomatoes can bring a unique twist to your heirloom tomato pie. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Colorful Cherry Tomatoes: Slice them in half to add a pop of color and a sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Green Tomatoes: For a firmer texture and a slightly tart taste, green tomatoes can be a great addition or alternative.
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes: Their large size and meaty texture make them a robust choice for a heartier pie.
  • Roma Tomatoes: Known for their rich flavor and less moisture, Roma tomatoes can help prevent soggy pies.

Feel free to mix and match different types or add other vegetables to your pie, like slices of zucchini or eggplant, for added nutrition and variety.

Best heirloom tomato pie recipe

Serving Suggestions For Heirloom Tomato Tart

Tomato pie, with its rich and tangy flavors, pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides. Here are some delicious ideas to complete your meal:

Salads

  • Arugula and Spinach Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette: The peppery greens complement the creamy pie, while the lemon dressing adds a fresh zing.
  • Classic Caesar Salad: A hearty Caesar salad can stand up to the flavors of the tomato pie, offering a crunchy and savory side option.

Soups

  • Gazpacho: Serve a chilled gazpacho for a refreshing contrast to the warm pie.
  • Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Double down on tomato goodness with a side of creamy tomato basil soup, enhancing the pie’s flavors.

Proteins

  • Grilled Chicken Breast: A simply seasoned grilled chicken breast adds protein to your meal without overshadowing the pie’s flavors.
  • Pan-Seared Salmon: The fatty richness of salmon works nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes.

Vegetables

  • Roasted Asparagus: With its crisp texture and earthy taste, roasted asparagus is a perfect springtime pairing.
  • Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic: Quick and easy, these green beans add a crunchy texture and garlicky flavor that pairs well with the pie.

Remember, the best pairings are the ones that suit your taste. Feel free to experiment with different sides to find your perfect match!

FAQs About Heirloom Tomato Tart

1. How Is Southern Tomato Pie Different From Italian Tomato Pie?

Southern tomato pie and Italian Tomato pie differ significantly. The latter more closely resembles pizza, with a yeasted bread base and cooked-down tomato sauce, typically topped with Pecorino Romano cheese and oregano. These differences highlight the unique characteristics of each.

2. How Is Tomato Pie Different From Pizza?

While both may be called pie, tomato pie is a traditional pie with layers of tomatoes, often seen as a sweet fruit, combined into a savory filling with cheeses and herbs. This contrasts with pizza, which shares some similarities but follows a different preparation and presentation tradition.

3. Is Tomato Pie Italian Or Southern?

Tomato pie has both Italian and Southern variations, representing two different dishes. While the Italian version is a close cousin to pizza, featuring bread, sauce, oil, and tomatoes, the Southern style celebrates summer-rich tomatoes in a mayo-cheese filling within a pastry crust.

4. Can You Freeze A Tomato Pie?

It’s best not to freeze tomato pie, as it does not freeze well. Instead, refrigerate any uneaten portions and enjoy within 2 days. Or, consider sharing with a neighbor for a delightful surprise.

5. Can You Make A Tomato Pie Ahead Of Time?

Tomato pies are best when made just right before you’re ready to dig in. This ensures the crust stays crisp and the filling is at its freshest.

6. What To Serve With Tomato Pie?

For brunch or a light lunch, tomato pie pairs wonderfully with a large salad or soup, such as easy carrot ginger soup or cold mint pea soup. As a side dish, try it alongside baked fish, oregano lemon chicken, or slow cooker black eyed peas & ham. Hot bacon dressing & spinach salad is also a fantastic companion.

7. Do I Have To Use Heirloom Tomatoes?

While heirloom tomatoes add a variety of colors and flavors, you can use any tomatoes you prefer. Pick your favorites to customize your pie.

8. Why Do I Need To Roast The Tomatoes?

Roasting the tomatoes is crucial to prevent your pie from becoming a soggy, runny mess. Taking this extra time ensures your filling is perfectly seasoned and concentrated in flavor, minus the excess moisture.

9. How Long Is Tomato Pie Good For?

A tomato pie can stay fresh for 2 to 4 days in the fridge if it’s freshly baked and homemade. If it’s store-bought, check the sell-by date on the packaging for its expected freshness. Once open, aim to enjoy it within 3-5 days.

10. Is Tomato Pie Good Reheated?

Yes, tomato pie can be delicious when reheated. Warm it in a 325°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. However, it’s best enjoyed the day it is baked, and freezing is not recommended.

11. Do You Have To Refrigerate Tomato Pie?

Refrigerate your tomato pie leftovers in the fridge, covered with foil or plastic wrap, for up to 3 days. This keeps the crust from becoming soggy. It’s best if served right away, and freezing is not advised.

12. Can You Leave Tomato Pie Out?

Tomato pie is best served at room temperature but should not be left out for more than a few hours due to the mayonnaise and cheese. If it gets cool, pop it back in the fridge. The temperature should stay just barely warm.

13. Why Is My Tomato Pie Soggy?

A soggy tomato pie can result if the crust isn’t Par-baked properly. Like with custard pies, the crust should be almost fully baked before adding the filling to prevent the tomatoes from releasing too much moisture into the pie.

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