Sweet sweet tomato pie. The most decadent summer treat. I can hardly believe I’ve made it through three weeks of tomato season without making this yet, but it felt right to devour cherry tomatoes raw by the handful and get my fill of tomato toast (for every meal of the day) first. But now, we’ve made it to serious tomato abundance (our CSA members are receiving 3-4 pounds this week!) and it is officially time for tomato pie.
Tomato pie, if somehow you have not yet heard of it, is essentially a bunch of slightly dried out tomatoes (either dried in the oven or dried out by salting and drying with paper towels) stuffed into pie crust and covered up with a mixture of mayonnaise, cheese and herbs. Sometimes there’s onion. Sometime’s the crust is a little fancy with cheese or bacon or herbs in it. As long as you follow that basic premise, no matter how you make it, it’s decadent and perfect.
However, sometimes you just don’t want to chance it. Sometimes you hear of a thing like tomato pie and you see a picture and you know you can wing and it would likely be fine, but you’d much prefer to follow the instructions of someone as obsessive about good food as me who has been making tomato pie for literally over a decade and perfecting a recipe for years.
This is it my friends. This is the tomato pie of your dreams. This is (in my humble opinion) the perfect tomato pie. I love it for three main reasons.
- The tomatoes are dried in the oven so that they get a little caramelized before you put them into the crust. Leek of the past used to always lay out her sliced tomatoes on paper towels, salt them well and let them release their liquid for a couple hours. It took forever. It wasted a lot of paper towels. And often, the tomato pie still turned out too liquidy. Not for me. Tomato pie is perfection when it is not a big sloppy mess. Drying the tomatoes down in the oven means no sloppy, overly saturated pie or pie crust. And again, those tomatoes get to not only dry out a bit but also caramelize a little. The roasting also concentrates their flavor so you get more tomato goodness in the end.
- My second favorite thing about this tomato pie is the havarti. I know I say in the instructions that you can use any favorite melty cheese in the notes of this recipe, but mostly, you shouldn’t. If you can find Roth brand havarti cheese (could be horseradish one, could be plain, whatever), you should really really use that. It’s super melty, mild and buttery in flavor. It pairs super well with all the amped up flavors of the other ingredients. Something strong like swiss or cheddar, though it would technically work, will take away from the goodness you have going on.
- BROWN BUTTERED GARLIC. Brown buttered garlic! I mean it feels ridiculous to have to explain why this would be amazing. Brown butter is the world’s best flavor and the art of also browning/almost candying garlic in the butter while it browns mean you have both brown butter and slightly crunchy, slightly browned, slightly caramelized garlic. It’s possibly the best flavor in the world and even though tomato pie is so tasty on its own that it hardly needs this level of decadence, why the hell not?! Why not up level that shit?
I hope you love this recipe. I hope it brings you as much joy as it brings us and I hope you don’t GAF about the fact that its butter on butter with mayo and cheese on top because let’s face it, we’re all eating nothing but sweet corn, watermelon, and cucumber salads most days of the week. Balance. Tomato pie brings balance. Remember that.
TOMATO PIE WITH BROWN BUTTERED GARLIC & SHALLOTS
Adapted from Bon Appetit
I’ve learned from the many lovely folks who tried out this recipe that a 9-inch store-bought crust does not work well with the recipe as written. It’s simply too much filling. If using a store-bought crust, I recommend you use 3 pounds tomatoes and halve the brown butter (feel free to keep the garlic quantity the same!).
Takes 2 hours (a little more if making the crust from scratch)
1 batch favorite pie dough (my favorite tomato pie crust is here)*
4-5 pounds tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded havarti*
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- If making your crust from scratch, get this going first so it has plenty of time to chill in the freezer. If not, hop to step 3.
- Core tomatoes and then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Lay tomato slices out on two large baking sheets so that they are mostly in a single layer. This may take four pounds of tomatoes or it may take five depending on how thick your slices are. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes look dehydrated and most of the liquid has evaporated. Rotate your pans a couple times to ensure even cooking. The exact time will vary based on your oven and the thickness of your tomatoes.
- While the tomatoes bake, melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook until the butter smells browned. It will foam and then turn clear and then begin to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir and check the pan often during this process to ensure it does not burn. Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and strain out garlic while saving the butter.
- Transfer garlic to a cutting board and finely chop.
- Combine garlic, mayonnaise, havarti, parmesan, and parsley in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
- By now your tomatoes should be done cooking. Remove them from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.
- Roll out your pie crust and place in a 10-inch pie pan. Place aluminum foil and pie weights (or rice or dried beans) inside and bake for 15 minutes. If you purchased a pre-made crust you can skip this step.
- Remove crust from oven. Place all but the 10 (of the most perfect) roast tomato slices into the pie crust in even layers. Spread mayo mixture over the top and then arrange 10-12 cooked tomatoes over the top followed by thinly sliced shallots. Glaze the whole thing with your prepared garlic butter by slowly drizzling evenly over the top.
- Bake for 45- 55 minutes until the crust is golden. Let cool at least 5 minutes before slicing or devouring.
*Any favorite cheese would work here. I love havarti and tomato together, but a mild cheddar, Gruyere or Swiss would all also work great!