As I was caring for my tomato plants, I had the memory of my father teaching me about cutting off the suckers–those shoots that show up between the main stalk and a branch. The purpose of removing them is so that they do not suck nutrients from the main plant, thereby giving you larger tomatoes.
One of the sucker branches was loaded with cherry tomatoes. I had to decide whether it should stay or go. Do I forfeit a nice yield for fewer, larger tomatoes?
I ask the same questions now when it comes to my daily priorities. What shall I spend my limited time and energy on? What “suckers” would I be wise to eliminate? Great life questions…
Back to tomatoes! Now is the time to make tomato pie. I am of the opinion that homegrown tomatoes are a slice of heaven, here and now. If you’ve never experienced tomato pie with homegrown tomatoes, you have not yet fully lived.
I first learned about tomato pie from Laurie Colwin. Laurie was a novelist and short story writer who authored some great books about food. I love to read books about food, so she became my buddy and mentor, even though I never had the pleasure of meeting her.
For those of you who have dietary restrictions, you may alter this recipe in any way that suits you, with one exception—you must include tomatoes. I made it with a gluten-free crust, and it was delicious. I have even made it with…canned tomatoes, when one very cold winter, I was in desperate need of a summer fix. Making (and eating) this brings me great joy, along with an abundance of happy memories.
I am sharing Laurie’s recipe so that you may experience a bit more of summer abundance–and a slice of heaven. If by some remote chance tomato pie is not your thing, go for the traditional tomato sandwich–-tomatoes, mayo, white bread. It too, is a winner.
The pie has a double biscuit-dough crust, made by blending:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 stick butter
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- Approximately 3/4 cup milk
Blend by hand or food processor. I like to use a pastry blender, since I once over- processed my pie dough and had to start over. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it.
- 2 pounds peeled fresh tomatoes or 2×28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, drained
- Basil, chives, or scallions, depending on availability and your mood
- 1 and ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Slice the tomatoes thin and lay the slices over the crust. Scatter them with your chosen seasoning and sprinkle one cup of the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Over this, drizzle the mayonnaise that has been thinned with the lemon juice. Top this with the rest of the grated cheese. Roll out the remaining dough, fit it over the filling, and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Cut several steam vents in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, or until bubbly and the crust is golden. The secret of this pie is to reheat it before serving, which among other things ensures that the cheese is soft and gooey. It can be made early in the morning, then reheated in the evening at 350 degrees F. until hot.
Recipe taken from More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen.
Sending you tomato love,
P.S. Join me on Zoom and we’ll make tomato pie together! Thursday, August 27 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Send me an email to reserve your spot! It’s my summer gift to you.
“It is hard to describe how delicious this is, especially on a hot day with a glass of magnificent iced tea in a beautiful setting, but it would doubtless be just as scrumptious on a cold day in your warm kitchen with a cup of coffee.” – Laurie Colwin