I blame my friend Beth.
I’m addicted to this pie.
And it’s her fault.
Who knew that in the heart of Manhattan, a friend would make something in her apartment, serve at movie night and well, I would be making as many of them as possible every tomato season from there on out!
This isn’t her recipe (honestly, I can’t recall the specifics of her recipe) but most tomato pies in the Southern Style run pretty similar.
I opted to play around this year making slight variations each batch I made but the base recipe you can find EVERYWHERE online.
Basil and green onion.
I have 3 in the freezer (and have already consumed 2 this season) and I hope to get about 4 more into the deep freeze before we’re done. Real talk – there is NOTHING like baking up one of these in the depths of winter. It’s like a bite of summer. Like a fresh, garden ripened tomato sandwich in pie form. Eaten in front of a roaring fire as you watch the snow fall down? Well, it’s a summer memory wrapped in a single, solitary fork-full. It’s bliss, friends.
Full disclosure – this is not for the mayo or cheese averse LOL. HOWEVER, this is a great item to make (and freeze) a bunch of, as the preparation is easy, the ingredients not complicated and the bake time manageable (even after you’ve eaten dinner.) You also don’t have to garden to make this pie shaped wonder. Pick up some goodies at the farmer’s market or some heirloom tomatoes at your local grocery and have at it. It is well worth it.
Shhhhhhhh – Also Full Disclosure – I use pre-made pie crust for this. The crust isn’t what will make or break this dish… and great crust doesn’t make this better. GREAT TOMATOES make this better. FULL STOP. So, make your life a bit easier and use store-bought dough, alright?
Let’s get to it.
Southern Style Tomato Pie (makes ONE pie)
- 4 large tomatoes, sweated and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 green onions, sliced thin (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 20 leaves (big bunch) of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, diced (use an amount based on your love of garlic, you aren’t diluting this so it will be strong if you use 2!)
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
- 1 cup of mayo (this is NOT meant for Cool Whip, friends… )
- 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
- 1 pre-made pie crust
- pat of unsalted butter
- slice your tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and place on a large platter lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let ‘sweat’ (this releases the water found in the flesh of the tomato.. the thing that will give you a soggy pie.) Leave to sit while you prep the rest of your ingredients, preheat the oven and pre-bake the bottom crust. (approx. 20-30 minutes)
- preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- place pre-made pie crust in a buttered, foil pie plate you want to make this in something you are ok placing into the freezer!) If you are making only 1 to consume immediately, feel free to use something a bit cuter or more attractive!
- crimp edges of dough and place a sheet of parchment over entire pie. Press down lightly and add in pie weights before you place into the oven. (full disclosure, unless I am serving others this pie, I skip this part. What it does is ensure the crust doesn’t shrink in and become irregularly shaped in the pan when you pre-bake it. When I am making this FOR someone else, any pie I plan on serving in a social setting or as a gift, I always use pie weights. You will see in some of these photos the crust is uneven, this is what happens without weights. It might not look as perfect, but still tastes perfectly FINE lol.)
- pre-bake crust in the pie dish for 10 minutes then remove from oven.
- As crust pre-bakes, make your cheese/mayo topping and herb mixture. Place both cheeses, mayo and black pepper into a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Put aside and prep herb mixture.
- Take green onion, garlic and basil and place in a small bowl. Mix throughly and put aside for when crust is done pre-baking.
- When crust has finished it’s 10 minutes of pre-baking, remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
- Blot the sliced tomatoes with a paper towel to remove all excess water/moisture.
- Build your pie in layers: layer of tomatoes, 1/2 of her mix, layer of tomatoes, remainder of herb mix, top with all of the cheese mixture and spread within 1/2in of the edge of the pie/crust.
- IF YOU ARE MAKING TO FREEZE: AT THIS POINT, WRAP IN TWO LAYERS OF PLASTIC WRAP AND PLACE IN FREEZER OVERNIGHT to freeze thoroughly. In the morning, att two layers of aluminum foil over the plastic wrap and return to freezer. Use within 6 months.
- If you are making to eat that evening (or in the next day or so) continue on, friends!
- Return pie to the oven and bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until the top is fully melted and the contents are bubbling.)
- Remove and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. Store in fridge for 3-5 days in airtight container. (I doubt it will last that long, y’all.)
NOTE: When reheating a frozen pie, take out of freezer the night before you plan on baking/serving. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator. Bake according to above instructions. If pie is not FULLY defrosted when you go to bake, have a sheet of foil ready to start the bake with and extend baking time 15-30 minutes. After 15 minutes you can remove the foil. Keep at the ready in case your crust begins to brown too much. The foil will protect the crust from burning, so if you see it heading that way, don’t be shy in placing it back on. It will not stop the rest of the pie from warming/melting/baking. Ultimately, your pie should be a melty, bubbling, golden delight when you remove.
I love using a mix of our colorful heirloom slicers for pies. Not only does it deepen the flavor profile (adding notes of deep tomato flavor as well as brightness and sweetness with each bite) but it is quite beautiful!
Give it a go, and tell me what you think!
Also: are you a pie weight enthusiast or one who uses them only when needed?