For those of you wondering if I’ve lost my mind, let me assure that I haven’t. For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated tomatoes. With a passion. I don’t even like them to be on the same plate as anything I’m planning to eat. My family and friends have had to put up with this peculiarity for years, and they’ve kindly refrained from telling me that I’m completely mad, but clearly I was. This pie has officially converted me into a tomato…well not a tomato lover, but at least a tomatoe liker. I still won’t put them on a sandwich – that juice is just too much for me – but baked into this soft crust with creamed corn, cheese and fresh herbs was just perfect.
The crust is not your typical pastry, but rather a biscuit dough that bakes up into a wonderfully light and fluffy crust that really elevates this into the ranks of awesome vegetable dishes. The bottom soaks up all the juices from the tomatoes and corn and the top gets all crusty and golden…perfect.
I’ve recently become very interested in eating seasonally and I’m trying to buy locally grown produce , so I do realize that this is the wrong time of year for a dish that is supposed to highlight the tomato, but I simply don’t care. Now that I’ve had this, I will happily look forward to the day when my own garden with provide me with wonderfully ripe and juicy fruit (fruit? right?) to recreate this perfect summer dish.
As you can see, I didn’t spend a lot of time making this dish aesthetically pleasing. The dough was very hard for me to work with as it was written in the recipe. It calls for 2 cups of flour, but at that amount I couldn’t scrape the “dough” out of the bowl, much less roll it out into a pie round. I added some more flour – I’ve no idea how much, I just coated my hands and the counter (several times) and rolled it out as best I could, and it was fine. Aside from that, this was really not too hard to make. The worst part was getting everything ready to go in; peeling and cutting the tomatoes, chopping the herbs, etc. I have no idea how you all peel tomatoes, but I just put them in a little boiling water for a few minutes until the skin pulls away and I can peel it off. And for those of you who have a strange aversion to mayonaise (you know who you are), you won’t even know it’s there, but you’d definitely miss it if you left it out (although you might be able to substitute something else like sour cream or creme fraiche). Mixed with the lemon juice, and on top of the cheese, the mayo added just the right amount of creamy to balance out the tanginess of the tomatoes.
Overall, I’d say this dish was a winner. It will be even more perfect once the tomatoes get ripe and it’s so hot outside that you can’t stand to turn the oven on for more than a few minutes. Luckily this only bakes for about 30 minutes, so you can have it in and out in no time. As for me, I can’t wait for the weather to get hot, and this was just the first taste of a beautiful summer to come.
Tomato and Corn Pie
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 3/4 lb beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely puréed in a food processor
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 7 oz coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then blend in 3/4 stick cold butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.
Divide dough in half and roll out 1 piece between sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into a 9-inch glass pie plate, patting with your fingers to fit (there will be just enough dough to line plate without an overhang). Discard plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1 tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, pepper, and salt, then sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with 2 teaspoons melted butter.
Bake pie in middle of oven until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.