Tomato Pie has long been a tradition in my family created by my Great Aunt Virginia. My grandfather and his 5 brothers and 2 sisters, their children and grandchildren (that would include me) would gather at a few houses along the bay and seriously party for a full 4 days. Those times were some of the best times I have ever had.
One memory that stands out the most is my first bite of the Whitworth Tomato Pie (I have altered the recipe a great deal). The smells coming out of the un-airconditioned kitchen and the gorgeous cheesy top made me want to have an entire pie to myself. As I lifted the fork to my mouth, I heard, “it’s a little hot, you might…,” but by then it was too late. My head started sweating, ears started burning, and my tongue felt like it was on fire. I have NEVER had anything so hot (spicy hot) in my life!
After my mouth had a chance to cool, the flavors of that pie had an addicting quality. I have worked to replicate that recipe minus the heat and have fallen in love with Tomato Pie all over again. My plan is to make my version at future reunions and hopefully make memories that will be repeated for generations to come.
You can find this recipe and many more of my favorite heirloom vegetable and free-range meat recipes in my book, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living.
Tomatoes, one of the joys of summer, are so individual that they deserve a place front and center and I know no better way to give them that honor than using them to make this amazing pie.
Dreamy Tomato Pie Recipe
1 homemade pie crust
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
2½ pounds heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
½ cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Homemade Pie Crust
Yields 2 10-inch pie crusts
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cups unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), very cold
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco), very cold
6 tablespoons ice water, plus more if dough is too thick.
Place flour and salt into food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to mix.
Dice butter. Add diced butter and cold shortening to processor.
Add ice water to the mixture down the feed tube with machine running. Pulse machine until dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half. Roll one of the pieces on a well-floured board rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it does not stick.
Continue rolling until 14 inches in diameter. Fold the dough in half over the rolling-pin, place in pie pan. Unfold and mold to pie plate. (For this recipe, place the pie crust in the refrigerator for 20 minutes)
For the pie:
Remove pie crust from refrigerator and cover lightly with aluminum foil. Place dried beans on top of the foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove foil and beans and return crust back into the oven for another 4-5 minutes or until crust is golden in color. Remove and place on cooling rack. Lightly brush mayonnaise on surface of crust and let cool completely.
Sprinkle ¼ of bread crumbs over bottom of crust. Layer half of the; tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat with another ¼ of breadcrumbs and remaining tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and cheeses.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil and remaining breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of tomato pie and finish with another drizzle of olive oil.
Bake the pie for about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly (you may want to cover the crust with a foil so that it does not burn). Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Let pie cool for an hour and serve.