The Only Tomato Pie Recipe You’ll Ever Need

The Only Tomato Pie Recipe You’ll Ever Need
In Birmingham, Alabama, Black Sheep Kitchen regulars start clamoring for chef Julie Grimes’ tomato pies in early March, even though the best tomatoes from local growers are still months away. In one form or another, the pies have been on the summer menu at Grimes’ grab-and-go dinner shop since she opened it four years ago.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
  • 6 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1 oz.)
  • 3 tbsp. shredded Gruyère cheese (about ¾ oz.)
  • 3 tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 ½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 large ripe red beefsteak tomato
  • 3–4 medium-size multi-color heirloom tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil or chives (for garnish)
  1. For the crust: Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour and next 6 ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with paddle attached; mix on low speed to blend. With mixer running, gradually add butter 2-3 pieces at a time, beating at low speed until butter breaks into pea-size pieces. Add yolks and mix until incorporated. Add enough cold water, 1 tbsp. at a time, blending just until dough begins to form a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. Shape dough into a round disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to two days).
  2. Preheat oven to 400˚. Unwrap dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Gently transfer dough into a 9-inch springform pan lightly coated with cooking spray, pressing dough into corners and up the sides of pan, draping dough over edges and pressing lightly to adhere. Pierce dough several times with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes. Place pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Shield dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Blind bake for about 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove weights and discard parchment. (“If you see any visible cracks in the shell or fear it may leak, seal it up by brushing raw egg white all over the inside of the blind-baked crust while it’s still hot,” Grimes says.)
  3. For the custard: Combine half-and-half, mayo, and eggs, whisking until smooth. Stir in cream.
  4. For the oil: Whisk together olive oil, basil, and garlic.
  5. For the tomatoes: Core tomatoes, and slice about ⅛ inch off of tops and bottoms of each tomato. Slice tomatoes into ¼-inch-thick slices. (“I don’t always peel the tomatoes, but if the skins are especially tough, you may want to peel them before slicing.”)
  6. Prepare the dish: Reduce oven temperature to 325˚. Arrange half of the tomato slices in a circle on top of prepared crust, overlapping slices and alternating colors. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of oil mixture. Sprinkle lightly with Parmigiano. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato slices and oil. Carefully pour custard around tomatoes, leaving most of the top layer of tomatoes visible. Sprinkle top layer of tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for about an hour or until custard is just set; remove from oven. Let stand 15–20 minutes.
  8. Using a serrated knife, saw the overhanging crust off the top, and remove ring. Slide pie onto a cake stand or cake circle. Sprinkle top of pie with fresh basil or chives and a bit more Parmigiano, if desired. Slice into wedges and serve warm.