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Tomato pie

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
August 11, 2010

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Serves 6

There are many variations of tomato pie, using an old-fashioned lard crust, as North Carolina resident Mindy Fitzpatrick does, or adding different cheeses, spices, vegetables, even meat. This version uses onion, cheddar, mozzarella, mayonnaise, fresh basil, and crushed Ritz crackers. Use your favorite pastry recipe or a ready-made frozen crust. You can also use 10 plum tomatoes for this pie.

4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced medium-thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Deep 9-inch pie pan lined with pastry
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup mayonnaise
Handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

1. In a colander, layer the tomatoes with salt; set aside for 10 minutes to drain. Press the tomatoes with your hand to release excess liquid.

2. Set the oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

4. Prick the pastry well all over. Dust the pastry with half the nutmeg. Press a piece of foil into the pastry. Fill it with rice or beans and bake the dough for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and rice or beans. Continue baking for 5 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven.

5. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

6. Layer half the tomatoes in the pastry. Add a layer of onions and sprinkle with pepper.

7. In a bowl, mix the cheddar and mozzarella. Set aside 1 cup of the cheese.

8. In another bowl, mix together the 1 cup of cheese, mayonnaise, and remaining nutmeg. Spread the mixture over the tomatoes.

9. Add another layer of tomatoes, pepper, and onions.

10. Sprinkle with basil and the remaining cheese.

11. Bake the pie for 50 minutes until the cheese forms a golden crust.

12. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In a bowl, toss the crackers and butter. Sprinkle the mixture on the pie and continue baking for 10 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from the Friendly Market