How To Make Easy Tomato Pie

How To Make Easy Tomato Pie

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Grace Elkus
Aug 31, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When I was growing up, I was convinced I hated mayo (and sour cream, and cream cheese, and cottage cheese, for that matter). I scrunched my nose up at my mom when she mixed it into her tuna salad, and scooched my seat away from my dad if he ordered the creamy coleslaw side at a restaurant. My friends that electively opted to add mayo to their Subway sandwiches? I was utterly repulsed.

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the secret to my mom's famous tomato pie — a staple in our household every summer — was a generous dollop of good old-fashioned mayonnaise. It was quite a dilemma: admit that okay, maybe I'd never really given the condiment a chance and had unfairly ruled it out of my diet, or stick to my story and give up the pie? The pie won (as it often does), and acted as my gateway to mayo, which now has a permanent place in my fridge.

With some assistance from two types of cheeses, lots of salt and pepper, and a spoonful of Dijon, mayo transforms into a decadent tomato pie topper that serves as the salty, savory counterpart to stewy, sweet summer tomatoes. Consider that this is all set inside a buttery, flaky pie crust, and I don't think I have to tell you this is a must-make before summer ends.

Easy Tomato Pie: Watch the Video

3 Smart Steps for Foolproof (Not Soggy!) Tomato Pie

Ripe summer tomatoes are naturally very juicy, making them great candidates for tomato sauce but not so ideal for a pie. But after making many tomato pies, we've come up with the very best ways to combat the moisture and prevent a soggy crust, leaving you with a sliceable summer pie packed with sweet tomato flavor.

1. Par-bake the crust and the tomatoes. If you're a longtime Kitchn reader, you likely know the benefits of par-baking (or blind baking) a pie crust. It's a technique often used with custard pies to keep the crust from getting soggy, and the same reasoning applies for tomato pie. You want the crust to be almost fully baked when you add the tomatoes, as they will release moisture onto the crust as they cook. For the crispiest, sturdiest crust, bake it in a hot oven on the lowest rack to ensure the heat hits the bottom and gets it nice and golden. Let it cool completely before adding the filling.

Our second, slightly less traditional step to prevent a soggy bottom crust is drying out the tomatoes in the oven before piling them in. While many recipes call for salting the tomatoes to release their moisture, I find this doesn't do enough to prevent excess moisture. Tossing them in the oven until wrinkly and dry is a far superior method, and it also concentrates the sweet tomato flavor, making the resulting pie that much tastier. It doesn't actually take any more time — you'll bake the tomatoes as the crust par-bakes. Drying them out also means you can pretty much use any tomato variety you please — I like pretty heirlooms, but romas and beefsteak are also great and have less moisture to begin with.

2. Insulate the crust with a layer of cheese. For extra insurance, we sprinkled some cheese onto the crust as it par-bakes, which acts as a barrier between the tomatoes and the crust. We've also had success brushing an egg white onto pie crust, which will also work here, but hey — who doesn't love an extra surprise layer of cheese in their pie?

3. Let the pie sit before serving. This might be the most crucial step of them all. You've par-baked your crust, insulated it with cheese, and dried out your tomatoes. But right when your pie comes out of the oven, the stewy tomatoes are bubbling and the pie is at peak-juiciness. Letting it sit for at least 20 minutes gives the pie a chance to cool off and set up a bit, making for cleaner slices when you go to dig in.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Yes, This Tomato Pie Is Actually Super Easy

Starting with store-bought pie dough cuts down on prep time significantly. While the crust par-bakes, you can mix up the cheesy mayo topper (just four ingredients!) so you lose no time at all. Don't worry about chopping any herbs — simply tear the fresh basil leaves directly on top of the tomatoes. Mix up a simple green salad as the pie bakes, and you'll have the ultimate end-of-summer meal on the table in no time.

If you want to get started ahead of time, the pie shell can be blind-baked up to two days in advance. Loosely wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

How To Make Easy Tomato Pie

Serves 6 to 8

Prep time: 35 minutes ; cooking time: 1 hour

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 1

    pie dough (enough for a 9-inch pie), homemade or store-bought

  • 2 pounds

    heirloom tomatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

  • 4 ounces

    extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/4 packed cups), divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1

    small shallot, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup

    loosely packed fresh basil leaves

  • Equipment
  • Rolling pin

  • 9-inch glass or metal pie plate (not deep dish)

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Parchment paper

  • Dried beans or pie weights

  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • Measuring cup and spoons

  • Box grater

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pie crust. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 425°F. Meanwhile, roll out the pie dough to a 12-inch round, then transfer to a 9-inch pie plate (regular, not deep dish). Roll the edges over on themselves and crimp the crust. Freeze while the oven heats, at least 15 minutes.

  2. Prepare the tomatoes for the oven. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

  3. Bake the crust and tomatoes. Remove the crust from the freezer and line with parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place the tomatoes on the upper rack and the pie crust on the lower rack. Bake until the edges of crust begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. Add cheese to the crust and bake again. Remove the crust from oven (leave the tomatoes in), and remove the parchment and pie weights. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheddar. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove the crust and the tomatoes from the oven (the tomatoes should be slightly wrinkly and look dry on top). Let both cool completely, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

  5. Make the topping. Place the mayonnaise, Parmesan, Dijon, remaining 1 cup Cheddar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

  6. Layer the tomatoes and shallots in the crust. Place half of the tomatoes in the crust in a single, even layer, then sprinkle with half the shallots. Repeat layering the remaining tomatoes and shallots.

  7. Top with the basil. Tear the basil leaves and scatter them on top.

  8. Top with the cheese mixture. Dollop the mayo-cheese mixture on top and spread into an even layer.

  9. Bake, then let cool before slicing. Bake until the crust is deep golden-brown, the filling is bubbling, and the cheese is beginning to brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to see if crust is browning too quickly, and tent loosely with aluminum foil if needed. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pie crust can be blind-baked with the cheese up to 2 days in advance. Loosely wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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