A recent weekend brunch gathering brought out the Pioneer Dad family’s competitive spirit. There were dueling quiches and heated critiques from several family members. Entries included an onion bacon quiche, black forest ham and Swiss cheese quiche, a shallot mushroom version and a broccoli cheese offering of questionable heritage. But the hands-down winner and my favorite, from niece Catherine, was the heirloom tomato pie.
Here’s how she made it.
For the pie crust:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Or, one pre-made piecrust
For the pie filling:
3/4 cup shredded Manchego or pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
This piecrust recipe is sometimes called “3-2-1 dough” because it’s composed of 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter or fat, and 1 part water by weight. There is a bit of sugar for a slightly sweet crust.
Pie weights are needed to line the crust so that it doesn’t puff up while cooking. Dried beans work well for this. The dough can be made and baked up to 1 day ahead. Makes one 9 or 9-1/2 inch piecrust.
Add all of the dry ingredients and cut in the butter to combine, until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in 3 to 4 tablespoons of ice water and mix until the dough comes together. About 4 to 5 minutes. Add another teaspoon of ice water if the dough seems too dry. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it up with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface and transfer to a pie tin.
Blind bake the piecrust. Line the pie tin with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Make the filling:
Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes; toss with 1-teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let the tomatoes drain, gently tossing occasionally for about 30 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Combine the Manchego cheese, mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, chives, parsley, thyme, kosher salt and pepper and the sautéed onion in a bowl. Spread evenly in the piecrust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. The pie looks best with a variety of yellow and red tomatoes of differing sizes. Drizzle with the remaining 1-tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper.
Bake until the tomatoes are lightly browned, about 50 minutes. Top the pie with the remaining 1-tablespoon each of fresh chives and parsley.
If the piecrust edges brown too early, wrap the edges with a strip of tinfoil before or during the final baking.