Reclaiming Tomato Pie From an Onslaught of Mayonnaise & Cheese

Now, I’m not afraid of mayonnaise, but I do shudder a bit at the thought of a traditional tomato pie. I’m talking about the version with globs of mayo and an overgenerous portion of shredded cheddar that feels nothing like the celebration of the tomato it could be. So, when our local farmers started providing us early tomatoes (thanks to the help of greenhouses and other season extension methods), I set out to make a pie that would really let the tomato shine.

I was so happy with the result that I think this pie will become a summer staple in our household and probably be my contribution to many a picnic. While the filling is mostly tomatoes, their acidity is balanced by a thin layer of creamy, garlicky ricotta, and a long bake time intensifies their sweetness. Use your favorite flaky pie crust recipe; I used Deb’s at Smitten Kitchen.

Celebrate Tomato Pie

1 9-inch pie crust recipe
1 c strained ricotta
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
½ tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram (or substitute fresh oregano)
2 ½ lbs ripe tomatoes (or about 4 large), cut into 1/4-inch slices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pie crust and lay in a 9-inch pie pan. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes then par-bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is cooked but not yet browning.
2. Mix the ricotta and garlic and spread evenly on pie crust. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the marjoram. Finally, evenly layer the tomato slices.
3. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes. You may want or need to drain off excess liquid a couple times near the end of the baking process, but doing so prevents the need to drain the tomatoes beforehand. Cool at least 15 minutes prior to slicing.

Enjoy this with a glass of Insolia, Case Ibidini, Valle dell’Acate – 2011. White wines with firm acidity balance the tartness of tomatoes and slice right through the richness of ricotta.

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