September 20, 2022
Until I tested this recipe, I had never had tomato pie. It’s apparently a southern thing, but I missed class that day. Countless versions exist in the vast online recipe wilderness. At last, I decided to fly bind and create something I would like to enjoy and serve guests. My goal was a marriage between pimento cheese and a savory tart with shortbread crust, using the last of the local tomatoes. Here is my version.
In culinary training, rolling out pastry crust was one of my least favorite activities. Warm hands, impatience with wrangling shaggy crumbling dough and the inevitable tough piecrust dogged my efforts. And yet I loathe the idea of purchasing premade crust shells. My mantra: homemade is always best.
Over the years, I got around this obstacle by using chickpea flour as a kind of socca crust. I also like patting buttery dough bits into a tart pan and becoming champion of the rustic.This tomato pie is super easy in the crust making department, I am happy to admit.
While this is billed as a seasonal recipe for end of summer tomatoes, grocery store romas also work fine. I wanted to avoid salting the tomatoes to make them set firmly, so I followed a tip from The Kitchn for baking the tomatoes first. Baking the tart shell ahead also avoids soggy texture.
Gluten free flour makes this crust, but regular all purpose flour is a fine substitute. I prefer hand shredding a block of extra sharp cheddar because pre-shredded cheese is coated with starches to keep the shreds firm and separate. We want creamy for our tomato pie.
Use this pie as appetizer or main course. Best quality is ensured if you allow the pie to settle at least half an hour to firm and set. It is very tasty at room temperature. Freezing is not recommended, but it will keep in the fridge for several days.
Pimento Cheese Tomato Pie
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes one 8 inch tart, four entree servings, more for appetizers
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend*
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces chilled unsalted butter ice water
8 good size roma tomatoes
8 ounce block extra sharp cheddar cheese**
medium clove garlic, zested on microplane grater
½ cup mayonnaise
4 ounce jar diced pimentos, well drained
*I use King Arthur measure for measure in the bag; wheat flour also good
**avoid pre shredded cheese to get maximum creaminess
- Whirl flour and fine sea salt in food processor to mix, then add butter in small pieces, pulsing several times until butter resembles small peas.
- Add ice water while machine is running, about 3 tablespoons, so that shaggy ball results.
- Pat this with lightly floured hands onto bottom and well up sides of 8 inch tart pan and freeze.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut roma tomatoes into ¼ inch rounds, saving tips for salads and composting/discarding stem ends.
- Lightly grease heavy sheet pan with cooking spray, spread out tomatoes onto pan and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes then set aside to cool.
- Place chilled tart shell in oven and bake until golden brown at edges, about 20-30 minutes.
- While tart crust bakes, combine shredded cheese (set aside ⅓ cup for tart bottom first), garlic, mayonnaise and pimentos in bowl
- Remove crust and decrease oven heat to 350 degrees.
- Set aside best 9 tomato rounds for top of tart.
- Scatter ⅓ cup cheddar across tart bottom, then tomatoes in even layers.
- Top with pimento cheese, then the 9 reserved tomato slices.
- Bake tart for 45 minutes.
- Allow tart to rest at least 30 minutes to set and firm up before cutting; also tastes great at room temperature.
- Tart will last in fridge several days, but does not freeze well.