Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomato and Corn Pie

A friend gave me some fresh zucchini and tomatoes from her garden a couple of weeks ago. The zucchini was promptly made into bread, but the last tomato stayed in my refrigerator for a week. I finally had an opportunity to use it last night, with the addition of two more large beefsteak tomatoes. I found this recipe and thought it looked and sounded really yummy, and I've gotta tell you -- it just begged me to make it.

I read the whole recipe a few times, and I had no idea how long it was going to take to prepare it. I started at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, and at 5:40 I stuck the pie in the oven. During that time, I had to run to the store to buy mayonnaise, since my lovely husband had neglected to tell me we'd been out of it for several weeks (I don't eat it). I just really hoped that after two hours of prep time that it would be worth it. Well, it wasn't absolutely fabulous, but neither was it a disappointment.

A few notes:
  • The tomatoes take the longest. Peeling them is important -- it will affect the end texture. Also, if you don't want massive gooiness and sogginess, you'll need to take the time to scrape out the seed and the liquidy sections of the tomatoes.
  • Two cups of flower for the crust is not enough. I added close to another half cup more to get it dry enough to not stick to everything in sight. It says to stick the second half in the fridge to keep it cold while you do everything else, but I found that the dough was not as malleable as I wanted when I pulled it out again. It needed a little bit of warmth to keep it soft.
  • I'm not sure what the point of chopping the corn was -- I forgot to do it. I used canned corn, which I drained and rinsed and drained again. One can was enough.
  • The leftovers are good, but not great. If you can make this for a bigger crowd, I would.
  • My husband and I ate this for a meal itself, but it's probably more of a side dish.
All in all, it was good, and I'll make it again. Not frequently, as it takes two hours (plus bake time), but we gave it four stars.

Tomato and Corn Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand (my preference) or lightly puréed in a food processor, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, divided (skipped this, no harm was done)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
7 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter (my choice) or between two sheets of plastic wrap (the recipe’s suggestion, but I imagined it would annoyingly stick to the plastic) into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Either fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it or, if you’re using the plastic warp method, remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. If your kitchen is excessively warm, as ours is, go ahead and put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired , gently remove seeds and extra juices. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 teaspoons). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I'll be honest. I was intimidated by this recipe. I've never made a pie crust before (graham cracker doesn't count). I had to improvise, because like I said, the recipe doesn't call for enough flour. The crust turned out really well though, and I was quite pleased with myself. It would be great to use to make buttermilk biscuits. I've also not really ever done anything more with tomatoes than chop them up and put them in things, so to have to blanch them and peel them and scrape them seemed like a lot to me. The pie looked too good to let be be too intimidated, though, and I'm glad I won the battle. You should really go read the original post about it, not just my re-posting of the recipe here.

(Sorry for the lack of camera is broken.)

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