If I ranked my favorite foods, heirloom tomatoes and homemade pie would both be at the top of my list. In fact, they might occupy the first and second spot. Please don’t ask me to choose one of them as my absolute favorite because I’m not sure that I could.
Thanks to this recipe, I can combine my love of the two and serve a delicious dinner at our family table. Heirloom Tomato Pie is a family favorite when we are harvesting ripe heirloom tomatoes from our garden every day. It combines the delicious flavors of heirloom tomatoes with the richness of buttery pie crust. It also beautifully pairs the soft texture of the ripe fruit with flaky pie crust. One bite and you’ll understand why we love it so much!
Heirloom Tomato Pie
Serves 4 to 6
If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, it can be put to good use in this recipe. I like to make a slightly savory crust by adding my favorite olive oils from the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club instead of the ice water usually called for in a pie crust recipe. The resulting pie crust is flaky and delicious, filled with the earthy flavor of great olive oil. You can read my favorite pie crust tips to create a delicious pie crust every single time.
The pie crust in this recipe should be blind baked, or prebaked before the filling is added. Because the tomato filling is so juicy, adding it to an unbaked pie crust would result in a soggy crust. By blind baking the crust and topping it with a bit of grated cheese, the crust will develop into a flaky base for the unctuous filling.
1 1/2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes
2 cups (240 grams) All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, grated
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 Tablespoons basil, chopped
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, grated
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Balsamic glaze for serving, if desired
Slice the tomatoes into 1″ thick rounds. Place them in a colander to drain as you prepare the crust. Allowing some of the excess liquid to drain away will help to concentrate the tomato flavor and yield a rich, thick filling.
To make the crust, place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the dry ingredients to combine. Add the grated butter and pulse until the butter has begun to incorporate into the flour and resembles small grains of rice.
With the motor running, add the olive oil one Tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball. Take care not to over process the dough. Over processing will help to develop the gluten in the flour and lead to a crust that is chewy and tough. Less is more when it comes to working pie crust and will result in a flaky, light crust.
Transfer the pie crust dough to a pie plate. Using your fingers, press the dough into shape gently until it is a uniform thickness and completely covers the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Flute or decorate the top edge if desired and transfer the pie plate to the refrigerator to chill while the oven warms.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch any pie filling that may bubble over during baking. When the oven has come up to temperature, remove the pie plate from the refrigerator and place on the baking sheet. Line the plate with a sheet of aluminum foil, pressing very gently to settle it into the edges of the crust. Add dried beans, rice, or ceramic pie weights to weigh down the crust as it bakes.
Place the pie plate on the lined baking sheet before transferring to the hot oven. Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust begins to set up but before it begins to brown. Remove the crust from the oven. Carefully remove the foil and beans, rice, or weights. These items will be extremely hot, so take care when removing them. After the weights have cooled, they can be stored and used over and over again.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle half of the grated Parmesan cheese over the bottom of the blind baked pie crust. Allow the crust to cool as you prepare the filling.
In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil until translucent, approximately 5-8 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the onion from burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, create the filling. Combine the mozzarella cheese, smoked mozzarella, ricotta, mayonnaise, and eggs. Stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the sliced tomatoes to cover the bottom of the pie crust. Spread the sautéed onions over the tomatoes and sprinkle the basil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to the pie, spreading gently to completely cover the tomatoes. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
Transfer the pie to the 400 degree oven. Bake until the filling is lightly set in the middle and bubbly and browned on top, approximately 30 minutes. If the filling sets before it has browned sufficiently on top, simply broil the pie for a brief few minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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