One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are ready for harvest. Berries, beans, cucumbers, peppers, and more are ready to enjoy during the warm summer months, making for some delicious and colorful summer dishes. Tomatoes are also at their peak during the summer months, and incredibly easy to grow at home! Tending to a tomato plant in the backyard gives you unmatched flavor to use in your cooking, but Farmers Market tomatoes are always a good alternative.
Tomatoes are a pretty unique food that are so versatile when it comes to cooking. Diced, blended, sliced, fried, there are so many ways to enjoy the aromatic fruit! They come in a variety of colors and sizes, each with unique flavors to savor, and are a pretty nutrient dense ingredient with little calories, according to The Old Farmers Almanac. Overall, tomatoes are a delicious representation of the season, so if you get an opportunity to enjoy the flavors of summer, tomatoes are a great place to start!
Finding recipes that feature tomatoes is not a difficult task. In fact, we’ve provided recipes for Summertime Fried Green Tomato Salad and Tik Tok’s Viral Baked Feta Pasta, but we are excited to continue exploring everything tomatoes can offer in the culinary arena. The Southern heat can feel endless in the summer, but at least it lends a hand to raising fresh, meaty tomatoes that can be used in all kinds of dishes! This week, we are sharing an easy Homemade Southern Tomato Pie recipe that’s bound to become an all-time favorite! Continue reading to learn how to make this baked masterpiece!
The origins of tomato pie, especially in the South, are unclear. It’s believed to be a more recent concoction that is widely hailed in the Southern portion of the United States that seems to have gained popularity around the mid to late 19th century. The first recipe feature for a tomato pie in Southern Living was not even published until 1978, but thinking historically, inspiration for the dish probably stemmed from Italian influences during the Industrial Revolution. As Italian immigrants worked their way into the industrial hotspot of the American South that constituted the entirety of the 1800s, some of their food practices likely took hold since ingredients like tomatoes and basil were highly accessible and easy to grow in abundance, especially in the Southern climate.
Regardless of origin, this dish is an irresistible way of enjoying all things summer! To make it, you’ll need about 4 or 5 fresh and large home-grown tomatoes (or from the Farmers Market), a sweet onion such as Vidalia, basil pesto as well as fresh basil, mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan cheese, and some high-quality mayonnaise. The better quality your ingredients, the better tasting your tomato pie will be, so opt for home-grown produce wherever possible to avoid losing out on the flavor that gets lost with store-bought items. The dough for your pie crust can be store-bought to simplify the recipe and cut down on prep time, but if you’re a fan of the homemade variety, this recipe is a great alternative!
Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, you’ll start by preparing the tomatoes and dressing the pie. Preheat the oven to 400º and prep your tomatoes. Tomatoes should be sliced into about ¼-½ inch sliced, with skin on to retain shape and flavor. While you wait for the oven to get warmed up, roll out your dough until smooth and shape it in a pie dish or pan. Make sure the edges are trimmed if need be so they don’t burn and prick the pie shell to avoid unwanted rising in the oven. You’ll prep the dough to be filled by baking it in the oven for about 8 minutes to allow it to really settle into its shape. Once it’s ready, remove it from the oven and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
After you’ve let the pie shell cool, begin layering the ingredients. First, a layer of onion, then an even layer of the grated mozzarella and Parmesan. Top the layer of cheese with a hearty spread of pesto and lay down some of your tomato slices. You should be able to use about half of the tomato slices in this layer and reserve the rest for later. Spread the tomato slices in a circular pattern while overlapping them to get as much coverage as possible, this part of the pie is going to carry most of the tomato flavor. Cover the tomato layer with mayonnaise and the shredded cheddar cheese.
At this point, you’re nearly done layering your tomato pie and almost ready to begin baking. Before you do, layer on a handful of chopped fresh basil as well as a final layer of tomato slices. This layer can be much more decorative since most of the tomato flavor in the pie stems from the other layer of tomatoes, so feel free to customize to your heart’s content, or a simple circular design will be perfect!
Once your pie is completely prepped and ready to go, you’ll pop it into the oven for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on your pie to prevent over-cooking and burning. Sage advice is to pay attention to the crusts and if the edges start to brown before the fillings are completely cooked, a pie ring is a great way to save your pies (if you don’t have a pie ring, you can easily make one out of tinfoil with this DIY guide).
After your pie has had ample time to cook, sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese and extra fresh basil and set aside for a good 30 minutes to cool!
This recipe is great and can be paired with almost anything! The possibilities are truly endless and will leave you with a scrumptious Southern staple, so explore what flavors can be achieved using this recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 33-35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 1 medium pie (2-3 servings)
We hope you enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Southern Tomato Pie and that you get to savor all of the flavors summer has to offer! Be sure to check out the other recipes shared in this article as well as keep an eye out on our blog for the dishes, tips, and snapshots of events we’ve worked with!
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