I’ve been chompin’ at the bit all year to make this pie. I decided as soon as I had access to local organic tomatoes, this savory pie would be at the top of my to-do list. Apparently, the local organic farmers produced a bumper crop of tomatoes this year, so Saturday I hit pay dirt at our neighborhood farmer’s market and my grocery bag was full to the brim.
Most of us consume tomatoes regularly in one form or another and because they’re such a common food, I’d never really thought about their history. I got curious and after a little research, I learned that the origins of the tomato trace back the early Aztecs around 700 A.D. Hernán Cortés, the Spanish Conquistador, is suspected to have brought the fruit back to Europe after conquering the Aztec city that is now Mexico City in the 1500s. Their use and cultivation spread across Europe and Asia over the next century. The earliest references to cultivation in North American was in the early 1700s.
I made this pie in a tart pan with two inch sides. The pie can be made in a traditional pie pan, but I really like the presentation of the crimped crust and the removable bottom makes slicing and serving a cinch. If you use a tart pan make sure and place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven. I made the mistake of placing the tart pan directly on the oven rack and the dripping liquid created a bit of smoke detector emergency.
This pie makes a great side with grilled chicken or salmon or you can serve it with a salad for a light lunch. High quality tomatoes are a must for this pie. I really don’t think you can beat the combination of Gruyere and Parmesan, but you can’t go wrong substituting your favorite cheeses. I have to say that this might be one of the most delicious things I’ve made recently. If you’re a tomato fan, by all means make this pie!
(Inspired from Southern Living recipe)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
3/4 cups sour cream
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
2 1/2 pounds assorted tomatoes
2 teaspoon salt (separated)
1 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 3/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/2 cup basil chiffonade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
1. Mix flour and salt together. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Larger pieces of butter are fine.
2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add sour cream. Mix until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix until dough comes together into a ball. Knead dough four or five times, wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll to a 13-inch round. Gently place dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom. Press dough into pan; trim off excess dough along edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
1. Cut two pounds of tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and remove seeds. Lay slices on paper towel and sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Combine Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, mayonnaise, basil, thyme, one teaspoon salt, pepper, and egg.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. With additional paper towel, pat tomato slices to remove excess moisture.
3. Add onion to bottom of pie crust. Top onion with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Layer half of tomatoes over cheese mixture in overlapping pattern. Top tomatoes with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat with another layer of tomatoes and cheese mixture.
4. Cut remaining tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on top of pie in an overlapping pattern.
5. Place pie on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
6. Cool completely before cutting. Serve at room temperature.