A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins. ~ Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’
Today I attended my first trunk show. I had never been to one before, so when a friend asked whether I was interested and assured me there would be no pressure to buy anything, I agreed. Fast forward a couple of hours: I was happily surprised, had a grand time and glad for the new experiences. The spirit of an ‘open mind’ had let me explore things that I wold never ordinarily have done. (Thank you, G!)
In the same spirit of trying something new, I took a leap with this Tomato Pie. A recent newsfeed reminded that’Pi Day’ falls on March 14. That’s 4 days from now. Get it? Punning isn’t my strong suit. Turns out neither is baking a perfect unbroken pie crust. Nonetheless, I am sharing this humble pie. Any thoughts about ‘really? tomato pie?’ were blown away once we tasted our first bite. It was sweet, salty, sour and slightly spicy all at once; it had all the umami goodness without a single piece of meat. Also, I am blessed with ravenous taste-testers who value flavor over presentation 🙂 This is a good one for lazy morning bunches with coffee and mimosas and works for vegetarians too!
Interesting tomato facts:
- Tomato is a fruit. Just like brinjal and pumpkin.
- Cooked tomatoes have higher concentrations of lycopene, the stuff that makes fruits red, and possibly prevent cancer. Lasagna lovers, eat away!
- Store tomatoes on the counter. Cold temperatures make them mealy and flavorless.
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- Select tomato varieties that have less juice, such as Roma tomatoes.
- Slice tomatoes on the horizontal before chopping. This will allow quite a lot of juice to be squeezed out while retaining most of the structure for easier chopping. You will want to get the tomatoes as dry as possible to avoid a soggy crust.
- To remove more liquid from the tomatoes in Step 5, I place the salted tomatoes in a bowl, then use another similar-sized bowl stacked on top of the tomatoes, press, hold and drain. Or you can get fancy and use a cheesecloth or ricer 🙂
- For a milder pie, you could replace Monterey Jack with Mozzarella and use in combination with the sharper Cheddar.
- Feel free to make your own pie crust. I used pre-made Pillsbury Deep Dish Pie Shells. It’s slightly sweeter than most store-bought crusts but I found it to just the right complement to balance the more acidic flavors from the tomatoes. One of these days I will take a crack at making my own pie crust and serve it in one of these lovely ceramic dishes that I have been eyeing.
For more breakfast ideas, try these lip-licking goodies:
For another brunch-friendly, vegetarian recipe, check out Sunday Morning Tomato Basil Frittata. This one can be done in under 30 minutes!
Picky toddlers and children? Hand them each a disc of these Stone Fruit Pancakes to keep them busy.
Dana, the baker extraordinaire behind Minimalist Baker, offers a crispy vegan and gluten-free (a 2-in-1!) pie crust recipe made from scratch. (Use the pie crust recipe). Seriously, you should try it for yourself.
Share your perfectly baked pie crusts below or on Instagram with #gingerandcilantro.blog! I’d love to learn how to bake a beautiful crust and see your photos.
- 1 deep dish 9-inch pie shell (I used store-bought)
- ½ red onion, diced
- 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped (~3-4 cups)
- ¼ cup basil, thinly sliced
- 8 oz / 2 cups grated Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Sprinkle ½ tsp salt over tomatoes and let it sit.
- Meanwhile, blind bake (pre-bake) the store-bought pie crust for 10 minutes.This is to prevent the crust from undercooking and remaining soggy. To blind bake, pierce the bottom a few times with a fork. Line with foil or parchment paper, pressing down at the edges. Weigh it down with uncooked rice of dried beans (these can be reused). Bake for 10 minutes and carefully remove weights and foil/parchment paper.
- Mix cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco sauce and black pepper. Set aside.
- Tomatoes will have expelled quite a lot of liquid. Pour it away and squeeze out as much remaining liquid as possible.
- Spread a thin layer of cheese at the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust.
- Layer on onions and tomatoes. Add basil all over. Spread cheese evenly to cover everything.
- Bake at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes, or until brown and slightly crusty, adding 10 minutes at a time if needed, depending on oven temperature.
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Can you find the Pi Day easter egg hidden in the post? Include in the comments below with hashtag #easteregg if you find it!