Farmer’s Tomato Pie

Before I get going on the recipe I thought I’d give a little update on the garden. We’re still getting an overwhelming amount of tomatoes, and as a result my mom and I have made at least 4 batches of my grandma’s sauce (a recipe that will never be on this blog!) and yet there are still more. There are always more. We went away for a week, and upon our return we had more tomatoes, green beans, an eggplant, and some cucumbers. I’m very pleased to inform you all that I did find a way to use up many cucumbers, Julia Child’s baked cucumber recipe! It uses 6 whole cucumbers, and the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking provides a variety of ways to serve them. I’ve made it with the cheese sauce.  j’ai adore.

My herbs are doing alright. The basil and sage are growing strong, the parsley is ok, and the dill has completely died. I think I over-planted the pot, not expecting them to grow so much, and the dill suffered for it. Also, the green beans somehow made their way over to the dill and started growing wrapped around it. I wanted to take pics, but it’s rainy out so I didn’t.
There is also some delicious looking butternut squash growing!! I’m excited! I’m going to make butternut squash risotto for my brother’s birthday on Wednesday, and you can betcha that I’ll put the recipe on this here blog :)
We had a plethora of chili peppers as well, and as a result we ate some, froze some, and are drying out some more. And there are still many growing. Here’s how the drying ones are coming along:
I know, they are very pretty and strange looking.
Now on to the recipe! Normally I post original recipes, however as a result of my whining in my last post about too many tomatoes, my friend’s mom, Marilyn Leibe, generously suggested I make a Farmers Tomato Pie. I was unimpressed at first, thinking of a pie crust filled with ketchup, but she assured me that it is tasty and emailed me the recipe. The recipe looked way more interesting than my initial impression, which was mainly based on the name. When one thinks of a pie, they normally think of the sweet dessert kind and not the savory kind. Since this is full of tomatoes and cheese I chose to think of it as a pizza pie.
I was wary of making it at first, but faced with so many tomatoes and a lack of desire to make more sauce I figured I might as well try. I’ve never actually made a pie before, and as you’ll see in the pictures I couldn’t care less if the crust was properly crinkled or whatever it’s called. I probably should have baked the crust a little longer, but lessons have been learned.
I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I had two bags of cheese that were mostly finished so instead of measuring I just used what I had left. I used up a bag of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. They became good friends in this dish. The recipe also didn’t specify what to do with the basil other than just topping the pie after it baked, so I went with a fancy chiffonade(roll up the leaves and cut into long, thin strips).

Before baking
After baking
The end result was quite pleasing. I should have baked it a little longer, but I was nervous about over-cooking it, as well as a little hungry, so I’ll try to be more patient next time. It reminded me of pizza, but with a lighter crust and more tartness from using fresh tomatoes instead of a sauce. It tasted absolutely nothing like a ketchup pie, and for that I am grateful. I’ll probably end up making it again this week with more adjustments since I now know how it works. Maybe some chili peppers next time? And sausage too? I think it will be spectacular.

1 pie crust
1 1/3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese or mozzarella
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp bread crumbs
2 lb ripe tomatoes cut in wedges (about 6 cups)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup loosely packed small fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Heat oven to 450
Place thawed pie crust in 9″ pie plate or quiche dish. If using pie plate crimp as desired. Line unpricked crust with double thickness foil and bake for 8 min. Remove foil and bake 4 – 5 min until set and dry. Remove from oven

Reduce temp to 375
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of cheese over crust, followed by half of the garlic and 2 tsp of bread crumbs.
Layer a third of the tomato wedges, a third of the cherry tomatoes, and 1/3 cup of  cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the garlic and 2 tsp of bread crumbs.

Repeat with another third of tomato wedges, a third cherry tomatoes and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with remaining bread crumbs.

Layer the remaining tomatoes and cheese and sprinkle with salt. The shell will be very full.

Bake 20 – 25 min until the pastry is golden brown and tomatoes are starting to brown (more so than in my pics, I told you I was a little over-eager and didn’t let it brown enough). Remove from oven and top with basil leaves. Let stand 10 min before serving; if held longer tomatoes tend to release juice and crust may get a little soggy.