Are you ready for this? No seriously, are you ready for this? You’re going to go nuts over this pie. First, pie crust. Buttery, flakey, a tiny pinch of salt for flavor. Topped with tomatoes, basil and an unearthly mixture of cheese, melted and golden brown, fresh from the oven. Two words, my friends, tomato pie.
This recipe has been in my family for years. My mom cut it out of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s food section ages ago – the original clipping is still tucked away in her personalized recipe file. Every summer, just as the tomatoes in our garden turned from green to a yellowish red, they were picked and this pie was made. My sister and I would beg my mom for this pie at the first sign of tomato growth, prod her to make the plants grow more quickly, but this pie was always (and I mean always) worth the wait.
The great thing about this pie is that it makes a hearty vegetarian dinner that yields plenty of leftovers. There are, thankfully, gluten free adaptions for the recipe to, though you may want to use a store-bought crust rather than a homemade one…it’s a bit easier to deal with that sort of dough.
Tomato Pie (With Homemade Crust)
Free of peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish. Gluten free adaptations below
1 and 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (NOT FRESH)
1 handful fresh basil, cut in ribbons (about a cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Begin with the crust: combine the flour in salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until the dough resembles tiny peas. Add the tablespoons of water one at a time, working them into the dough as you go.
3. Once the dough forms one large ball – and is not too sticky – spread flour on a flat surface and roll out until the crust is larger than your 10×10 pie plate. Fold the crust in half, then in half again to transfer it to the pie plate. Unfold.
4. Put the crust in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, until it’s slightly brown. Take the crust out of the oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
5. While the pie crust rests, cut the tomatoes into discs, then dry using paper towels. Arrange the discs on top of the melted cheese on the crust.
6. Next, sprinkle the julienned basil on top of the tomatoes.
7. Combine the mayonnaise with the remaining cheese in a small bowl. Spread this mixture on top of the basil and tomatoes.
8. Sprinkle the pie with the Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
9. Put it in the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Enjoy!
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Sub a gluten free pie crust (store bought) for the homemade crust and follow the instructions the same way!