One would think that someone with a cookbook collection like mine – particularly one with a solid Southern bent that includes a number of church, Junior League and similar collections as well as some Southern classics – would have a solid tomato pie recipe or three among them. And yet, after recently combing through the ENTIRE collection, I realized the TWO I come up with in no way resemble the pies I’ve had in the past that I know had some sort of tomato, mayo, cheese mix.
Of course, I took to Facebook to see if anyone had any recipes and the ensuing conversation resulted in a slew of tomato recipes – both links to ones posted on the internet, as well as photos of handwritten ones – and of course, a good discussion on the topic. Some of the recipes were quite complicated and while I’m sure they are good, I’m the sort of person who gladly spends two days on a chocolate cake, but dinner shouldn’t take more than an hour, especially in August.
In the end, I printed out a few recipes that sounded like what I was looking for and incorporated elements from a number of them into what I ended up winging….from a link Aimee sent me, an herbed, cheddar crust. From a handwritten recipe from Cynthia, the idea of a biscuit crust, which I imagined would be helpful in my skipping the step of pre-roasting the tomatoes and lastly, from Kendra’s comments, the idea that combining the mayo with cheddar was really something akin to pimento cheese and so I did a riff on that, using some local goat cheese combined with cream cheese. The crust is based on the “Stir-n-Roll Biscuits” from my 1950’s Betty Crocker, so I can say that I at least used one of my cookbooks in the making of this.
I will be making more tomato pie – I have a few more recipes and tricks to try out, but here’s what I came up with for dinner last night that was a hit. It’s a little loosey goosey on measurements for the cheese topping – I sort did that by feel, but if you need measurements, the mayo/cream cheese should probably measure about a cup while I used about 1 1/2 cups of cheddar. You could use other cheeses, particularly mozzarella, but don’t use the fresh mozz, go with the harder stuff.
Collaborative Tomato Pie
2 cups flour
(1 tsp Italian seasoning)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup buttermilk + extra
Cream cheese (softened)
Fresh basil/oregano/chives finely chopped
(Peel) & core tomatoes, slice and drain on parchment paper. Sift together the flour, dried herbs, baking powder, salt and baking soda (and a handful or two of shredded cheese). Pour oil and buttermilk into the flour, stirring with a fork until mixture cleans the side of the bowl and rounds up into a ball. (Add more milk or buttermilk here, up to 2 cups to ensure a smooth dough that spreads easily)
Spread dough out on the bottom of a greased baking pan.
Mix shredded cheese, mayo, cream (and goat) cheese together with salt, pepper and fresh herbs.
Arrange tomato slices on biscuit crust, season with salt & pepper, then spread cheese mix to cover. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.
*Variation – skip the buttermilk and use regular sweet milk in the biscuit crust. Change the baking powder measurement to 3 teaspoons and skip the baking soda.