Fresh Tomato Slab Pie

published Jul 29, 2021
summer
Fresh Tomato Slab Pie

This showstopping summer pie consists of a butter cracker crust, a tangy whipped feta filling, and a fresh tomato topping.

Serves8 to 10

Prep40 minutes

Cook45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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tomato slab pie on sheet tray
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

As soon as summer settles in, I begin craving tomato pie. There’s truly nothing better than ripe, fresh tomatoes baked into a flaky pie shell with some sort of mayonnaise-cream cheese filling and salty pops of Parmesan. My cravings, though, are often so strong that I don’t have the patience to wait for the height of August, when the best summer tomatoes are piling high in farm-stand bins. And I usually don’t want to fuss with pie crust, either.

This tomato slab pie bypasses all those barriers with sturdy, sweet store-bought grape tomatoes and a decadent-but-simple butter cracker crust. It’s the perfect meal to enjoy all summer long, and both my vegetarian and meat-eating family and friends devour it. It’s all made in the food processor, too, which makes it convenient and fairly quick to put together. Here’s how to do it.

Making the Butter Cracker Crust

This slab pie has three main components: the crust, the filling, and the tomatoes. I begin by processing Townhouse butter crackers (my childhood favorite) in the food processor to make the quick, press-in crust. To prevent the bottom from getting soggy, I mix the cracker crumbs with one whole egg and some sugar to bind it together, and then top it with grated Parmesan just before par-baking it. After 10 minutes in the oven, the crust is sturdy enough to stand up to the filling and the fresh tomatoes.

You can bake this pie in a jelly roll pan or a 9×13-inch baking dish, both of which are a more manageable size for a slab pie than a standard sheet pan. The jelly roll pan fits in my countertop oven, too, which means I don’t have to get the kitchen too hot in the summer months.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Assembling the Pie

For the filling, which gets spread onto the cooled crust, I whip briny, tangy feta with an egg, a bit of cream cheese, and a whisper of mayonnaise — just enough to satisfy the traditional tomato pie crowd. The whipped feta is so good on its own that I often make a double batch to serve as a dip for summer veggies. 

The tomatoes are simply tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, and finely chopped basil to heighten their sweetness and balance out the rich filling. Half go on top of the pie to bake; the other half are tossed on top of the cooled pie just before serving, along with a handful of spicy fresh arugula.

All the Ways to Enjoy Tomato Slab Pie

The slab pie works really well as a main dish — especially when served with a big, fresh salad full of garden vegetables and a tangy, balsamic vinaigrette. Here are a couple of ways to make this veggie-forward pie even more substantial.

  • Layer on slices of fried eggplant before adding the fresh cherry tomatoes to the cooled pie. Making the eggplant is easy: Dip thickly cut eggplant into beaten egg and fine cornmeal and shallow-fry while the pie is baking.
  • For a meaty version, sprinkle the cooled pie with 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon or layer on thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto before adding the fresh tomatoes.

Fresh Tomato Slab Pie

This showstopping summer pie consists of a butter cracker crust, a tangy whipped feta filling, and a fresh tomato topping.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 4 tablespoons

    salted butter

  • 7 ounces

    butter crackers (about 66 Townhouse or 62 Ritz), or 2 cups cracker crumbs

  • 2

    large eggs, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    grated Parmesan cheese, divided

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 pounds

    small grape tomatoes (4 pints), divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 ounces

    feta cheese

  • 1/3 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 2 cups

    arugula

Instructions

  1. Let 8 ounces cream cheese sit at room temperature until softened, about 1 hour.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish or a 15.5x10.5-inch rimmed baking sheet (or jelly roll pan) with aluminum foil.

  3. Melt 4 tablespoons salted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place 7 ounces crackers in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until broken up, about 30 seconds. (If using crumbs, place 2 cups in the food processor.)

  4. Add the melted butter, 1 of the large eggs, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Process until the crackers become fine crumbs and are completely moistened, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to the pan and press evenly into the bottom to form the crust.

  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese evenly on top. Bake until well browned, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the following, adding them to a medium bowl as you complete them: Halve 1 pound of the grape tomatoes, finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon, finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chop 4 garlic cloves.

  7. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine.

  8. Wipe the bowl and blade of the food processor clean. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of the juice from the zested lemon into the food processor. Add 8 ounces feta cheese and process until smooth, about 45 seconds. Add the cream cheese, remaining 1 large egg, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/3 cup mayonnaise. Process until creamy, about 1 minute.

  9. Transfer the cream cheese mixture onto the crust and spread into an even layer. Transfer half of the tomato mixture onto the cream cheese layer. Bake until the tomatoes and filling are slightly browned, about 35 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

  10. Right before serving, top with the remaining tomato mixture and 2 cups arugula. Grasping the foil, remove the pie from the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 8 to 10 pieces with a serrated knife.

Recipe Notes

BLT slab pie: To make this a BLT slab pie, top with 1/2 cup crumbled, cooked bacon before topping with the arugula.

Make ahead: The crust can be made and pressed into the pan up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate unbaked. The cream cheese filling can also be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature or reheat in the oven before eating.