Cheesy Tomato & Vidalia Pie

Tomato Pie’s been on my bucket list for a while! I know – strange, right? Well, maybe not if you have a ton of tomatoes, and maybe not if you’re from the South. Or maybe not if you watch Paula Dean. But this isn’t quite that tomato pie. This is a Cheesy Tomato & Vidalia Pie, and you’ll want to serve it for lunch or dinner, maybe with a simple green salad.

Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

I know I made a Garden Tomato Tart not tooooo long ago. And it was delish. And really easy with the pat in crust. And did I say delish? But when life gives you tomatoes, what are ya gonna do? Make tomato stuff, give some away, make more tomato stuff, try to give some away and then…you got it, make more tomato stuff.

But back to this pie. A buttery crust seasoned with Cajun spices and herbs. (In a pinch you could do what one reviewer did and sprinkle a store-bought crust and roll those spices right in – I was tempted but didn’t. This is a food blog, after all!!) Then the layered filling. Tomatoes and sweet onions and cheese and fresh from the garden (or store, but do plant herbs, even if they’re in a pot!) herbs. Oh my!

Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

My only complaints? This is a project! Seriously it took friggin’ forever to make. I thought the end result was worth it, or it wouldn’t be here. But I guess any pie really takes time. There’s the making, then the waiting for the crust to chill, then the rolling, then the chill, then the baking. But the rest was simple, especially after I learned to measure and set out the filling ingredients so I wasn’t getting “confuselled” as I made it.

The first go around had a couple of issues. It was a little soggy, it got overdone and needed some shielding, and I thought it needed just a bit more spice, but it was soooo good. So good, four days later, I made it again so I could fiddle a bit. I put those changes in the recipe along with a few other improvements. Sorry, Emeril…had to do it. You can see Emeril’s here and mine, below.

Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Tomato Pie, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Cheesy Tomato & Vidalia Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

First, make the pie crust (or cheat and sprinkle a store-bought one with the Cajun spices and roll them in.) As soon as the pie crust is in the fridge, salt the tomatoes and put in a strainer to drain.

Savory Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons Emeril’s Essence or a Cajun spice blend, see recipe
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water (may need a little more)
  • 1 egg, separated (the white gets brushed over the baked crust, the yolk is used in the filling.)

In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, Cajun spice, salt, and butter and process until mixture has mostly pea sized lumps, erring on the side of larger lumps.

Remove to a bowl. Run your fingers through the mixture and pinch any large pieces of butter into flat discs. Add water while tossing vigorously with a fork. Continue to add until the dough seems to be coming together (there will be a lot of loose flour and bits.)

Turn onto a counter and smoosh across the dough with the heel of your hand. Gather together, with the dough, any loose particles and smoosh again. Repeat the gathering and smooshing a third time.

Take a look at the dough and dribble a little bit of water on any dry areas and gently work it in by pinching it together. Gather it up into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

Remove from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to desired shape and thickness, for this recipe, large enough for a 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie plate. Place crust in pie plate and crimp edges.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking, then preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and blind bake:

Line with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove foil and pie weights, and return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until the bottom looks somewhat dry.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. While the crust is still warm, crack the egg in a small bowl, reserving yolk for the filling, separately. Lightly beat the egg white with a fork, then brush the surface of pie crust with a light coating of egg white and allow to cool.

Yield: 1 pie shell

The Tomato Pie:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 4 medium large *
  • Salt (about a teaspoon to strain the tomatoes) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (about half of a Vidalia onion; cut in half from stem to root, then very, very thinly slice across
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg yolk, reserved from the crust
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup grated good quality cheddar cheese *
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese *
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

As soon as the crust is made (to save time, start the water to boil before you start the crust) cut a shallow “X” in the bottom of the tomato, about an inch in each direction. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then remove. Peel tomatoes and slice into 3/8″ rounds.

Salt the tomato slices, using about a teaspoon of salt, then place in a strainer over a larger bowl to drain and remove excess moisture.

Mix together egg yolk, mayonnaise and herbs in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix together the cheddar and mozzarella in a small bowl, set aside. Measure breadcrumbs and set out.

When the crust has cooled, begin the layering.

First layer:

  • add 1/3 of the bread crumbs to the bottom of the crust
  • add 1/2 of the tomatoes in a single layer
  • sprinkle with black pepper
  • sprinkle 1/2 of the onion
  • drizzle with 1/2 the mayo mixture
  • sprinkle with half the mozzarella & cheddar cheeses

2nd layer:

  • sprinkle 1/3 of the breadcrumb mixture
  • layer the remaining tomatoes
  • sprinkle with pepper
  • layer remaining onion
  • drizzle with remaining mayo mixture
  • add the remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese

Top with:

  • the remaining third of the breadcrumb mixture
  • the Parmesan cheese
  • drizzle with olive oil

Place in the oven and bake until bubbly hot and golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering the top by laying a piece of foil over it after 30 minutes. When done, the top should be golden brown and the pie crust thoroughly cooked and well browned.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.* Serve warm or at room temperature, although this is very good cold, too.

Notes:

  • This is made with very juicy garden tomatoes. I can’t comment on how regular store-bought ones will work.
  • Do use the best quality cheeses you can for this; some cheaper cheeses may leak oiliness into the pie.
  • If the pie still looks very moist after 30 minutes, you might wish to gently and very carefully tilt for a few seconds and drain a bit of the juices out. This is risky…

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Emeril LaGasse

The method of making the crust for the above recipe is my favorite. It combines a French technique with a number of others I’ve used over the years and always produces a tender, beautiful, flaky crust. See the photos, below, which are from my Empanada dough post, but use the very same technique.

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Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 399
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28 g 44 %
Saturated Fat 12 g 62 %
Monounsaturated Fat 8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 76 mg 25 %
Sodium 669 mg 28 %
Potassium 299 mg 9 %
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g 10 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 11 g 22 %
Vitamin A 34 %
Vitamin C 26 %
Calcium 16 %
Iron 5 %

I’ll be taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #137, hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked as well as Saucy Saturdays – they’re such a great group of bloggers!

40 thoughts on “Cheesy Tomato & Vidalia Pie”

  1. Oh no! Emeril is going to come after you! Tomato pie is one of those things I say I am going to make every season and never do. I’ll put this on my list for next year since our tomatoes are petering out a bit already.

    1. I love what I call “cheat” recipes that run around looking all gourmet when they’re really easy and I don’t usually get too complicated unless it’s dessert – this one’s the exception!! It was so good, though, I think I’m going to be making every tomato season. 🙂

  2. This looks gorgeous Mollie– and your’e right pie takes so much time! My grandmother was a big pie maker– but she also raised her own chickens and killled/plucked them to eat and sewed all my clothes growing up. I think it was a different time…

    1. Thanks! I was rather proud of myself, because I never approach a pie crust without some trepidation!! It was amazing and a Vidalia pie sounds amazing, too! Gosh, I remember waiting years for the Vidalia to make it up to Minnesota, lol!!

        1. Yes, I have Pie anxiety!! lol!! Well, it’s one item that is different every time you make it – it always needs more water or less water and you have to go by feel and if you don’t nail it the whole thing is a struggle! I think I just don’t make them often enough – usually once a year at Thanksgiving! My little method of squashing the crust across the table and then adding a bit of water if it’s not all holding together has helped greatly improved my pie crusts!

  3. This dish looks like a cross between two of my favorite foods, pizza and lasagna. I appreciate you listing the nutrition facts too.

    Unfortunately, its too advanced for me to make. Ill have my mom or aunt make it.

    1. Thanks Vinny! It’s a bit more advanced than I usually cook, too! I’d still like it again, so maybe your Mom or Auntie will make one for me, too, lol! Seriously, I don’t usually go this complicated unless it’s a dessert…pie it is, dessert, not! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Mollie

      1. I just hope they make me one.lol

        If I were ambitious, Id give it a whirl. I try to keep my cooking simple,because Im lazy.lol

        Mmm. Pie is worth the effort put into making it.

        No problem. Thanks for responding.

  4. Hoo boy, there’s a reason I don’t like to bake pies and bread, lol! I would go the store-bought route. But the pie looks scrumptious! All my tomatoes came out so small this year I made homemade salsa and canned most of them. Salsa all winter long! Gotta have chips and salsa for all those football games, right?

    1. That sounds wonderful!! I love salsa. I could drink it!! That premade pie crust option is probably how I’ll make this from now on, but this would also be seriously good cut down and put into a small casserole – no crust at all, eh?

      Did you plant a small, early variety? Just curious, because we did, and then the big boys…then we killed off about a half dozen plants in the heat waves we had so early in the year…

      1. My husband planted these heirloom seeds that said “small to medium” tomatoes, and were bred for the Central Oregon high desert climate. However, they came out tiny to small. Some smaller than cherry tomatoes and the biggest were the size of a large cherry. Yeah, I could do a no-crust style, or just do the store-bought pastry sheets instead of a pie crust. Sorry you lost so many in the heat wave!

        1. It was so hot and so much going on I just couldn’t keep up with the watering – I was already pretty attached to a yellow heirloom German variety that I named Herman the German after my Mom’s dad, lol! Next year we’ll nail it!!

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