Sunday, August 7, 2011

Peak of Summer From our Garden Tomato Pie

I was thrilled to see the pie challenge extended since it brings us into peak tomato season in our garden and it brings me to a point in the summer where I am actually in the kitchen again!!!

Here's a look at our "local, down from the house and next to the creek" foods - a typical day from the garden right now (styled a bit for a good photo, but really, this is from our garden!!!!)

At the moment we are inundated with tomatoes and I am canning like a fiend!!! Mainly diced tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. But I am gonna be a wimp and do double duty with this pie - both local foods and pie.

Our favorite thing to do with big juicy fresh tomatoes (aside from just biting into them with salt shaker in hand) is to make fresh tomato pies. We tend to eat these a lot this time of year since they are only good with fresh ripe summer tomatoes (not those tomato look alike things you find in the stores in winter....) This is a southern classic taught to me by my mother, there are tons of variations and it goes great for lunch or dinner, can be eaten hot or at room temp, and makes a great late night snack!!! I have done lots of different things with this - different cheeses as well as adding black beans and cilantro (replace the basil) and some hot peppers for a mexican flare, veggie pepperoni and black olives for a pizza style pie, and also adding whatever other veggies we are getting from the garden such as spinach, sweet red peppers, squash and corn - the options to be creative with this are endless!!!

You will need the following for two pies - one for dinner and one for lunch and snacks the next day - or as we did today - one for lunch, then the other for dinner!!

4-5- large ripe summer tomatoes
1 large vidalia onion
6 cups grated cheddar cheese (we use veggie shreds - a mix of mozzarella style and cheddar style)
2 frozen pie crusts or crusts made from your favorite recipe (we have found the best organic whole wheat pie crusts locally and use them all the time)
1 cup more or less lite mayo
1/2 cup fresh basil - you can use whole leaves or cut them into fine thin strips (chiffonade) - or if fresh basil isn't handy you can use about a tablespoon dried italian seasoning.
Salt and pepper

(you will notice in the above photo the yellow squash and black beans - these are some "optional" ingredients I will use in one pie)

Preheat your oven to 400F. Pre-bake your crusts for about 10 minutes.

Cut your tomatoes into 1/4" slices and then into half moons (each slice cut in half). I don't peel these or remove the seeds but some folks may want to do them that way and that is just fine. Then slice the Vidalia onion into thin half moons. (Summer squash in to thin half moons as well)

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the basil and enough mayo to moisten the whole thing (about a cup or so) - mix well. If using whole basil leaves don't mix them in here - they will be layered in later.

Now to build the pies. Start with a layer of tomatoes, and top with a layer of onion. (Add a layer of basil leaves here if using whole leaves). Add any layers of optional ingredients as well. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.

Then top with a layer of the cheese mixture. Then repeat all three layers.

Bake in a 400F oven for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes - slice and serve.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!! Pretty Pies!!! Lunchtime!!!!!! And here is my very sexy broken legged hubby enjoying his pie (he can't fit around the table at the moment.......)

And the two wigglewugs gobbling up their pie!!

These pies are just not good using anything other than fresh local home grown tomatoes so get busy and try this NOW. Hurry before the impending end of tomato season!!!!


  1. Nell, this looks DELICIOUS! I plan to try it ASAP! :)

  2. I think we're going to need to try a version of this!

  3. Looks yummy as always. I am a bit jealous of all the awesomeness that is emanating from your garden.

  4. Can I substitute something else for the mayo? Yogurt, sour cream, thinned cream cheese?