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I've made so many tomato pies through the years it's hard to keep count, and each one has been different in some way. I've made them with heirloom tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, purple tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and cherry tomatoes — lovingly called Tommy Toes around our house. I've made them with cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, goat cheese and Parmesan cheese. I've even made them with tomatoes from the grocery store in the dead of winter — not something I would recommend, but necessary because summertime is not the only time when the longing for tomato pie hits.

Suffice it to say, there are so many ways that a tomato pie can be made. But one common denominator with all of my tomato pies has been that they tend to be on the soupy side when I cut into them. I finally found a solution to that problem, though, and I'm happy to share it with any of you who know that summertime is not complete without at least one tomato pie on your menu.

(READ MORE: Dive into fresh, ripe tomatoes with these recipes)

The secret to cutting into a slice of tomato pie and not having it run all over the plate is to parbake the crust until it's crisp, then add tapioca to thicken the filling. I also like to chop the tomatoes rather than slice. It makes cutting and eating a lot easier.

(READ MORE: Aldi's tomato-basil goat cheese simplifies tomato pie)

This recipe for tomato pie calls for goat cheese, cheddar and mozzarella, but use whatever cheese you want. Gouda is nice, and parmesan is a good tomato partner, too.

Summer Tomato Pie

1 pie crust (preferably homemade, but store-bought is OK if you're in a rush)

5-6 summer tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

6-8 leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded

4-6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke's

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

Crisping up the bottom crust is a must. Put the crust into the bottom of a pie pan, then line the bottom of the crust with some tinfoil and add weights, dried beans, rice, pennies to keep the crust from puffing up. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until firm. Let it cool, and while it's cooling, core and slice or chop the tomatoes and allow them to drain a bit in a colander.

Layer the bottom of the crust with tomatoes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, half the basil and all of the goat cheese.

Cover the goat cheese layer with another layer of sliced or chopped tomatoes, more salt and pepper and remaining basil (you may reserve a bit of basil for the cheddar/mozzarella mixture).

Mix cheddar and mozzarella cheese with mayonnaise and tapioca starch. If you have any basil left, chiffonade a few leaves into the mixture.

Mix this up well, and spread it over the pie.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until it is nicely golden brown. Serve with a salad and crusty bread for an amazing summer meal.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com or annebraly.com.

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