August means the harvest of yummy tomatoes kicks into high gear. For those who were reading my blog last summer, you know that DH finally asked me to stop making tomato pies for a while as I was making so many of them. I just couldn’t get the recipe the way I wanted it. Paula Deen’s method doesn’t work, as 10 minutes to drain isn’t nearly enough time, resulting in a watery pie and a soggy crust. All I can say is she must have a great food stylist as her recipe doesn’t come out looking anywhere near like the photo. I tried prebaking the tomatoes but that left them limp and lifeless in the pie. I tried drying them in a low oven for an hour, but that didn’t work either. For pie after pie, most came out too watery, and the topping was bland or the balance between tomatoes and topping was off. With the harvest coming on strong this year, I thought finally, maybe, I had the recipe worked out. So, I started making them again, and I think I have it now. One secret is to really dry out the tomatoes, and I got this idea from the Safelight owned Dandelion Cafe. They drain their tomatoes overnight, and it really makes a difference! Add to that my extra flavors, and we have a winner!!
Slice the top off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and jelly. The better job you do here, the better the outcome.
Slice thickly and arrange on paper towels on a plate. Sprinkle with salt. This photo was taken on the next to last attempt, and on the next one I made more effort to clean out the rest of the seeds and jelly.
Layer tomatoes between paper towels as needed.
Cover with a dry paper towel, pressing onto the tomatoes. Allow to drain at least 8 hours, or overnight and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. With this method, even heirloom tomatoes like Cherokee purples will work. If the paper towels get soaked after a couple of hours, replace them with dry ones.
When ready to bake, place one piecrust in a round pie baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the bottom of the crust. This helps provide a barrier to keep the crust flaky and reduce sogginess.
Layer the prepared tomatoes in the dish. While this one did fine for water in the bottom, the last one with better cleaned tomatoes did even better.
Then top with chiffonade basil and green onion. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper to taste. I threw on some mozzarella here too, totally optional.
In a bowl, combine 1 cup of mozzarella, mayo, sriracha sauce and cream cheese then mix well. (Note – if you don’t have sriracha, use any tabasco type hot sauce. Don’t be afraid, this tiny amount will only enhance the tomato flavor, it isn’t spicy.) Spoon over the tomatoes and smooth over the entire surface.
Top with remaining mozzarella.
Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is melted, and lightly browned. Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield if it starts to get too browned.
Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Yum!!
Rich and creamy with fresh tomatoes and lots of melted cheese, it is a meal in itself!
I couldn’t stop there when I had one more idea for a fun variation, adding bacon because bacon makes almost anything taste better, doesn’t it? Omit the green onions. Cook 4 slices of bacon in a skillet until crisp, then drain on paper towels. In the rendered bacon fat, saute 1/2 cup of chopped white onion until translucent, then drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle the bacon and onions over the tomatoes in place of the green onions, and proceed with recipe.
Now there’s a WOW factor! Use a gluten free crust for a gluten free version.
If you do a really good job with cleaning the seeds and jelly out of the tomatoes, and drain them for at least 12 hours, you get a pie that doesn’t have water in the bottom or a soggy bottom crust. No food stylist here, this is how it really looks.
And the best news, the next day it is good too, with virtually no liquid in the dish. I like it best heated back up, but it isn’t bad cold either.
Carole’s Tomato Pie
4-6 medium to large tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pre-made pie crust
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
6 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
Fresh ground pepper
2 cups grated mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
4 oz low fat cream cheese (or goat cheese)
Slice the top off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and jelly. Slice thickly and arrange on paper towels on a plate. Sprinkle with salt. Layer tomatoes between paper towels as needed and cover with a dry paper towel, pressing onto the tomatoes. Allow to drain overnight and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, place one piecrust in a round pie baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the bottom of the crust. Layer drained tomatoes in the dish, then top with chiffonade basil and green onion. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper to taste. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of mozzarella, mayo, sriracha sauce and cream cheese and mix well. Spoon over the tomatoes and smooth over the entire surface. Top with remaining mozzarella.
Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is melted, and lightly browned. Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield if it starts to get too browned. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Variation – omit green onions. Cook 4 slices of bacon in a skillet until crisp, then drain on paper towels. In the rendered bacon fat, saute 1/2 cup of chopped white onion until translucent, then drain on paper towels. Sprinkle over tomatoes in place of the green onions, and proceed with recipe.
Download a pdf of the recipe – Carole’s Tomato Pie
And here’s my updated recipe with a flaky, no-fail crust! – Carole’s Tomato Pie with Vodka Crust
While we are on the subject of tomatoes, yesterday was the Tomato Festival at the Hendersonville Tailgate Market. I ran down early to beat the rain, to get a few photos for the fair competition and buy some more tomatoes. The variety and freshness of a tailgate market with local growers cannot be beat!
I bought some yellow tomatoes from the grower above Oliver Organiks, and a bunch of huge red Biltmore tomatoes from Crab Creek Produce below. Jenny Sexton with her adorable ‘tomato’, Chesnee, were so friendly and their tomatoes were huge! I had one in a tomato sandwich for lunch yesterday, yum!!
I sliced some of these up and they are draining in the frig right now. Grilled pork chops and a tomato pie for supper tonight!
Have you made a tomato pie? If you are gardening, how’s your tomato harvest?’
28 thoughts on “Carole’s Tomato Pie (Finally!!)”
Carole, I love tomato pie and thanks for sharing your recipe. I must try it.
That was a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing all that info with pics including the failures! I can imagine that there are some food stylists that get paid very well to sell cookbooks! It looks like you have a winner this time. That was good information about drying the tomatoes. You went through a lot of work. I hope DH’s family is willing to try again this season! Let us know how they like the new and improved version.
Thanks for the shout-out to Dandelion, the cornerstone of Safelight’s job training program! Tomato Pie is definitely a fan favorite here. Looks like you’ve perfected it! Yummy!
Wow, this sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your secret tip!
I am trying this tomorrow! Thank you so much for doing this – perfecting a recipe that so many Southerns love. I, too, had trouble with the “soggy” and just stopped baking them. I’m. Excited! We have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.
Gosh this looks good ! I may have to run out and buy some farmers’ tomatoes! My own tomato plant has 4 green tomatoes on it , a long way from a pie or a sandwich yet. I was just thinking about your issue regarding the soggy bottom crust- did you try prebaking the bottom crust for 10 minutes or so before adding the filling? My grandmother used to do that sometimes before making an extra juicy pie.
Yes, it didn’t work. When the tomatoes aren’t sufficiently drained, the crust gets soaked anyway, and the pie is floating in water when you cut it.
Talk about perseverance!!!! Looks like you succeeded! We have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year and the Cherokee purples are HUGE!! Thanks for posting your tested recipe.
You are to be commended for persevering. It looks delicious. When I used to eat tomatoes, I coped out making a casserole of sliced tomatoes, zucchini, onion, topped with provolone cheese. Dots of butter & S/P before the cheese. No bottom crust to deal with. Totally understand your DH’s comment…I just went through about 3 weeks trying to perfect a yogurt recipe. My DH said something very similar! Ha!
I have never tried tomato pie because of the excess moisture – great idea for soaking on paper towels so long in the refrigerator
Oh yummmmm. Thank you for your research….I’m going to give it a try!
Thank you sooooo much! I will try slicing and soaking today so that tomorrow I may have a pie!!
Thanks so much for sharing your recipe, Carole. You did a lot of work to make it just right!! Now to find a keto pie crust and give this a try. I love tomatoes – tomato anything, and especially tomato gravy! Wish I could make it like my mama did!!
Those are some great tips. I might try a tomato pie, but I’ll have to rename it of DH won’t try it!😂 We only have green tomatoes, still. They are taking forever, but hat might be a good thing, since the beans are out of control at the moment!
Sounds delicious. I just have one question. Does drying the tomatoes in the refrigerator affect the taste of the tomato? I’ve read you’re not supposed to store tomatoes in the fridge.
No, you are going to cook them so it doesn’t matter. I like to keep them in the frig just for food safety since they are cut and kept overnight. It is true that room temperature tomatoes taste better if eaten raw on a sandwich or salad.
Wow Carol!!! Thank you, thank you for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it and I think I will use the version with the bacon. LOVE your blog!
Thank you for the recipe and tips!!
Looks good! I use this recipe too…with a bisquick and half and half crust that I pre-bake for 7 minutes. I find that like you, I have to scoop out seeds and jelly parts before draining the tomatoes. I usually let them sit 2-4 hours, but might try your overnight thing. Must say adding bacon sounds great! I say my secret ingredient is Duke’s mayo….my favorite.
I make fresh tomato pizza but I’ve never made pie. I think this recipe would be good on top of pizza crust as well as pie crust. I’m going to give it a try. Yum!
I’ve been wanting to try a tomato pie this year, and your recipe clinches the deal. Thank you! We are drowning in tomatoes from our garden, and I’ve been putting up sauce and making ratatouille and BLT’s too. A tomato pie will be a wonderful change.
Thank you very much for the recipe! not that a bumper harvest of tomatoes is anything we need worrying about with the wet and windy weather we have where I am.
A little tip that works for me when I make a pie with wet content – I brush the base with egg yolk. I know this will not be an option for vegans but seeing you use cheese here that should not be a problem for you. It does seem a bit weird that something wet can keep the bottom crisp but it really does. I never could make a pie without a soggy bottom until I found this tip in a recipe by Delia Smith.
I love tomatoes and this looks really good. I do think that having dry tomatoes would be a must for a recipe like this.
That being said, this isn’t remotely what someone would expect in Pennsylvania if you said you were serving tomato pie. What it is here is sortof a cold pizza with lots of sauce and just Parmesan cheese on top instead of any other cheese. It is huge at parties here, sold at all the Italian bakeries.
Oh, thanks for sharing! One year our foodie principal brought a tomato pie to our monthly pitch-in at school and it was divine. He shared his recipe but mine was never, ever anything but a soupy mess. You have a great idea and I am excited to try this recipe. Just love tomato season.
I am actually making a tomato pie for dinner tonight! I usually make several every summer, and never have had soggy results…but I do either roast grape tomatoes or salt and drain fresh slices. Tonight’s pie is going to have pesto, bacon and Parmesan and possibly white cheddar…That is too funny that your husband asked you to stop making them 🤣
OH my YUM! A local restaurant makes this and your recipe looks very close to the dish they serve. Saving this to try!
Have finally gotten your tomato recipe copied and now planning a trip to the farmers market for some. Made a tomato pie everal years ago and it didn’t turn out so well, now I know why, the recipe didn’t tell to drain the tomatoes so now I’m anxious to try yours which I think is going to be terrific with your additions, can’t wait hardly. Thanks for all the great pictures you take the time to take for all of us. I have a file of just your recipes and another for all the great helpful instructions on quilting which is kept with my sewing files on my table at all times, picked up one of those paper filing stacks at the thrift store and it works great and I always know where they are.
Have a terrific day,
I have made 6 pies since you posted this! I am hopelessly addicted! Everyone that I have managed to try it have loved it! I don’t know if because we are in the north but everyone crinkles their nose when I say tomato pie, but they love it! Thank you so much for the recipe!!!
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