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I know that we’re well into “Pumpkin Spice” season…but I’m still picking fresh tomatoes. Are you? I’m not hating on pumpkin spice, here. Autumn is a lovely season that I plan to enjoy to its fullest. But this feels eerily like “Back to School” sales beginning in July or Christmas decorations in stores in … well, I was going to say October, but we saw some last night!
So when my friend, Alice, shared her recipe for tomato pie with me a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to pass it along to you. Even though it’s pumpkin spice season.
Maybe I’m feeling kind of rebellious because Red Dawn is on TV. Whatever the case… here’s to tomato pie and bucking the system. Wolverines!
I don’t know how I never had this in my life before. Well, I kind of know. When I was a kid I wouldn’t have touched something called tomato pie. Even now, hunks of cooked tomato in spaghetti sauce or chili aren’t my favorite. But this is different. Maybe because it’s made with fresh tomatoes?
You can make a homemade pie crust if you’d like. I use the pre-made refrigerator crusts. Put it in your pie plate and set aside until you need it.
Alice pre-bakes her crust. But I am lazy (and also in particular just don’t like pre-baking pie crusts) so I don’t. I bake my pie on the bottom rack to make up for it, and have had good results this way. But you go ahead and do whatever floats your boat. Isn’t cooking great that way?!
It’s time to slice your tomatoes. I’m using a mix of red and yellow tomatoes here. You can decide how ‘tomato-ey’ you want your pie to be. Fill your crust all the way to the top…or, like me, fill it up about halfway. For this pie, I think I used two large red tomatoes and three small to medium yellows. Regardless of how many you use, you must blot your tomatoes with paper towels or your pie will have a lot of extra liquid.
Chop up some onion and fresh basil (if you have it). Layer these with your tomatoes. (I forgot to layer here, and just sprinkled the onions and basil on top…it’s all right, I promise). Add salt and pepper to taste. And if you don’t have fresh basil, a little sprinkle of Italian seasoning would be delicious instead.
Next you need to mix together the cheesy goodness that makes this all meld together into one heavenly pie of yumminess.
The base is a cup of mayonnaise. To that you can customize to your taste. You’ll need 2 cups of cheese. Alice’s recipe called for 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar. I didn’t have cheddar when I made it the first time, and so substituted a cup of parmesan. We liked it so much, that’s how I’ve continued to make it. (Yes, I got the recipe 2 weeks ago and have made it multiple times…it’s that good!) Top your pie with the cheese mixture.
Bake at 425 on the bottom rack until the crust is brown, the cheese is golden, and the pie is bubbling. It’ll take about 30 minutes. (If you pre-baked your crust, you’ll want to bake this at 375 on the middle rack).
Here’s what it looks like when it comes out:
Here’s the hardest part of the recipe…. you have to wait. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting in. And I’ll warn you, it can stick in the pan a little, but don’t dismay…it tastes just as good pretty or ugly.
I’ll give you a re-heating tip, too. If you have leftovers, they do re-heat well in the oven (or toaster oven). I think a microwave would make it mushy. I heated ours in a 400 degree oven, covered in foil until bubbly. It was, in my opinion, as good as the first time around.
Have I convinced you to consider joining my rebellion?
Pumpkin spice, I’ll be seeing you soon. We’ll have plenty of time together…I promise.