How To Make Tomato Pie For A Group - Summer 2015

Let heirloom tomatoes shine in a buttery cheddar crust

You've waited all year for this dish, and when it arrives at the table, you still take a moment to marvel. It's generous, for starters: a riot of vibrant color from a bounty of cruelly brief-season heirloom tomatoes, layered lavishly in an herby, cheddar cheese-packed crust that, despite its juicy payload, remains miraculously crisp on the bottom. You could think of it as a pizza, but even pizza must know when it's been bested.

Oh, my, tomato pie. It should be yours as soon as humanly possible.

Roasting the tomatoes before assembling the pie concentrates their sweetness.

TT's kitchen team are no strangers to the appeal of summer nightshades and developed a recipe (get it here) that lets their best qualities shine through. Though raw tomatoes are luscious on their own, they can quickly sog up a dough. Kitchen assistant Katy Peetz found that if she seasoned the slices, then dried them out slightly in the oven, the flavor was even more concentrated, while still maintaining enough moisture to celebrate their fresh appeal.

Cheese and tomatoes are a classic pairing in a pie, but Katy wanted to steer clear of incorporating the two directly and blunting the sweet, tangy bite of the latter. Instead, she adapted her tried-and-true piecrust method by cutting down the shortening and adding in a whopping two cups of grated cheddar, tossed with flour and chilled to avoid mushiness. A solid sprinkling of thyme leaves (Katy says she avoided oregano, so it wouldn't taste "too much like pizza" and take away from this special, seasonal dish) and kosher salt, and then the crust is ready to be fully baked on a sheet pan. Katy found that laying butter knives against the edges of the sheet pan allowed the dough to lie flat and crisp against the pan.

Once both parts of the pie are cooked, they come together easily. An extra lashing of olive oil lends a creamy texture and keeps it all from drying out in the oven. A little bit more thyme and some basil (the lemon varieties, if you have them) round out the summery flavor.

And then there's just one more step: Wait. It might seem like a cruel tease after waiting so long for peak tomato season to finally roll around, but letting the pie cool to room temperature allows the flavor of each element to sing its own song and then harmonize with the others.

Tomato pie? Now you may.