Make Ahead

Nonnie's Tomato Pie

April 19, 2010
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

My mom has been making this pie for years, and I have to say, there are few better uses for the abundance of farm fresh tomatoes that we have in late summer, than to make this delicious treat. That said, I wish my mom had taken a picture of my face, when as a child, she first told me that she was cooking a tomato pie. I bet it was a gaze that combined shock, horror, and the kind of look you get when you're feeling nauseous, and your mom is chasing you around the house with a bottle of cod liver oil. Tomato in a pie? Pies are for apples, and pumpkin, and mincemeat...... stop talking crazy, woman!

When I started writing my blog, I compiled a list of recipes that resided somewhere in my network of family and friends, and that I knew I wanted to teach my kids. This tomato pie recipe was at the top of the list. - Oui, Chef —Oui, Chef

Test Kitchen Notes

This is not a dish for the faint-of-tomato-heart. If you like just a few cubes of tomato scattered about a salad, or a thin slice on a sandwich, this is more tomato than you can handle, because it explodes into a huge tomato taste extravaganza, bathed in the richness of the mayo-cheese topping and punctuated by the crunch of the bacon and the zing of the onions in your mouth. It's summer in a pie plate. Draining the tomatoes for an hour allows the pie filling to set up nice and solidly, and not get the crust soggy. The oregano stirred into the topping provides a zippy little counterpart to the sweet-tart of the tomatoes. As much as I love tomatoes, next time I would be inclined to use fewer tomatoes or a larger dish, so as to spread them thinner, and to add a little half-and-half to thin down the mayo to allow it to spread over the pie filling more smoothly. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the pie crust; tender and flaky, with just the right amount of "give" to the tooth. I can also testify that pie weights or dry beans are an absolute must here; I didn't use them, and had to flatten out the bottom of my crust after the pre-bake step. It was a pleasure to test—and taste! - Kayb —The Editors

  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
  • Pie Crust
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons AP flour
  • 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
  • 2/3 cup water, very cold
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the pie filling
  • 4 to 5 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced and blotted dry
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 large, sweet onion, sauteed
  • 1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut into lardons, and cooked till crisp
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
In This Recipe
  1. For the crust: In a bowl, combine the ice water and salt, stir to dissolve, and keep very cold. In the bowl of a food processor, pour the flour, and toss the butter pieces over the top.  Pulse briefly until the butter is reduced to pieces the size of peas. Add the water and pulse a few more times, until the dough starts to come together and form a ball, but is still rough and shaggy. Dump the dough onto a well floured work surface, gather together in one piece, and then separate into 2 equal balls. Press each ball into a disc about 1" thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. To form your crust, take a disc from the fridge, and place it on a lightly floured surface, roll to about 1/8" thick, rotating the dough every few passes with the pin to assure even thickness.  Transfer the dough to your tart pan or pie plate and finish the edge as desired. You may either freeze the second disc of dough, or better yet, double the filling recipe and make TWO pies! Chill the shell in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour before baking.
  3. To blind bake the shell: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the surface under the paper looks light brown. Remove the paper and weights and return the shell to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, until drier and a more golden brown. Remove the shell to a rack, and let cool completely before proceeding with baking your pie.
  4. Slice the tomatoes and place them on a large cooling rack covered with paper towels. VERY lightly sprinkle the slices with kosher salt to help pull moisture from them, and cover them with another layer of paper towels. Let them sit like this for at least an hour.
  5. Finely mince the onion and sauté until golden brown in a little olive oil and butter, if desired. Cook bacon lardons until just crisp, and let drain on a paper towel. Mix mayonnaise, grated cheese and oregano in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Set oven temp to 350°F. Assemble the pie by roughly chopping the tomato slices and spreading the pieces evenly into the pie shell. Generously cover the top with freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle with the onions and bacon, and, finally, top with the mayo-cheese mix. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 1/2 hour, or until the top is nicely browned and the pie is bubbling. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for at least 1/2 hour before cutting and serving.

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    Jennifer Ann
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.