Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato Pie in Pate Brisee

Stop what you are doing and make this right now. Seriously. I made two. Some friends and I ate one last night, and the other is reserved for different friends on Thursday.


If it makes it that long.

I don't know how much I actually like those friends.

Not really. They're great. But that pie is in my fridge calling my name. I can hear it crying out to me through the aluminum foil.

Feel free to buy your crust pre-made. You'll still need to bake it first, but it will work just fine. If you're feeling adventurous, try this recipe for pate brisee.

Tomato Pie:

1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped OR 1 onion, chopped and caramelized*. I used a red onion and caramelized it, and I suggest you do the same, because it was GOOD.
3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approx 3 cups chopped tomatoes. I used a variety of colors of heirloom tomatoes, but you can use whatever kind you like.
1/4 cup sliced basil (or about 1 tsp Italian seasoning). Tip: stack basil leaves, roll up (like a cigar), and cut into thin slices OR just use kitchen shears to cut thin slices.
2 cups grated cheese (I used 2% cheddar and 2% "mexican blend." The original recipe suggests sharp cheddar and monterey jack or gruyere or mozarella. I'd suggest using 2% because it tasted good, held together well, but didn't get too greasy, but the original recipe didn't call for that.
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I did not mess around with the light or low fat kind, but it might work.)
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place pie shell in oven and cook for about 10 minutes or longer until lightly golden. If I were doing this again, I would get some pie weights to prevent the center from poofing up and pulling the sides of the crust down. If pie browns too quickly, use a pie shield or place foil over the crust. It will not look "done" after this process, only lightly golden.

2. Squeeze as much moisture from the tomatoes as you can. The orginal recipe suggests using a potato ricer. Since I don't own one of those (although I'd like to, hint hint to The Big Geek), I just picked up handfulls and squeezed over the sink, then put the "squozen" tomatoes in a bowl until I'd squeezed them all. If you are using Italian seasoning instead of fresh basil, sprinkle it into the bowl and gently stir.

3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-baked pie shell with onion. Spread the tomatoes on top of the onions. If using sliced basil, sprinkle it over the tomatoes.

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayo, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. The mixture will be the consistency of a gooey snowball. Spread cheese mixture over the tomatoes. I found it easier to spread with my fingers than with a spoon.

5. Place in the oven and bake until browned and bubbly, 25-45 minutes.

Cool for a bit and then enjoy warm. Try to save some for your family or friends.

*To caramelize an onion, melt some butter in a wide saute pan (you can also use olive oil, or a combination of olive oil and butter--about 1 Tbsp per onion). Add sliced or chopped onions and stir to coat. Cook for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to stir them enough that they don't burn, but not too much or they won't brown. Some cooks like to add a tsp of salt and a sprinkling of sugar after about 10 minutes. I, however, am lazy and just brown the onion in butter. I figure that if I use salted butter I don't need to add more salt. . .

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