“Tomato Pie??!!??”  That is the response I got from the  grocery clerk when I answered his question about what kind of pie I was making as he was ringing up my frozen pie crusts.  He had never heard of it before and honestly, other than seeing a recipe or two in magazines over the years, I really wasn’t that knowledgeable about it either.  That is until last weekend and where else, but Facebook!

Tomato Pie from Simply Recipes ...the recipe that started it all :-)
Tomato Pie from Simply Recipes

Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with friends that I haven’t seen in years and especially those in high school.  One of my old high school buddies, Tina Rymer, posted about a craving she was having for Cook’s Grocery Store’s Tomato Pie.  Apparently, she had gone to Cook’s several times to pick up this unusual treat and they were always out so she posted on facebook that she was going to have to make one herself.

Now, I am originally from Polk County, Tennessee home of the great Ocoee River and don’t get back often but Tina and a bunch of old friends still live in the area.  It is a very small, rural area and everyone knows everyone.  Upon hearing about Tina’s Tomato Pie dilemma, another high school buddy, Carole Hicks, offered to just make her one and bring it to her!  Wow!  That is some true Southern Hospitality!

The facebook post that started it all!
The facebook post that started it all!

Now, I was intrigued by all this talk of Tomato Pie since I have a major tomato obsession, to say the least.  I asked for the recipe and it was promptly shared with me!  Here is the rest of the message and as you can see, Tina wasn’t the only one that was a recipient of Carol’s Tomato Pie!  I love it!

The second half of the Facebook message
The second half of the Facebook message

Now before I get to the actual Tomato Pie recipe, I wanted to share something very heartwarming about Tina.  She makes huge sacrifices every day because her son, Keegan, has served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I can’t begin to imagine the worry and stress she has had.  During this time, he gave his mom two beautiful grandsons and a wonderful daughter-in-law.  Recently, he was honored in a program called Troop Rewards who sent him and his wife on a lovely vacation in Key West.  Sometimes, I think we forget how much sacrifice every day families go through and I wanted to personally thank, US Army Sergeant Keegan Rogers and his family for their service and sacrifice.

US Sgt. Keegan Rogers and his wife Lauren on their Key West trip sponsored by Troop Rewards
US Sgt. Keegan Rogers and his wife Lauren on their Key West trip sponsored by Troop Rewards

Now for the Tomato Pie!  The recipe that Tina sent me was from another blog called Simply Recipes by Elise Bauer.  Her blog is beautiful and you can tell that she is quite the professional.  As a new blogger of only 5 months, I have high hopes that one day my blog will be as wonderfully developed.

As you know, I always like to add my own tweaks to any recipe but I didn’t do much to this one other than sauteing my onions and adding a little mustard brushed on to the pie crust after baking to add a little extra punch of flavor.  I also used my favorite hot sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce, instead of Frank’s hot sauce but you really can use anything.  This is my “slightly tweaked” version.

Southern Tomato Pie

  • 1 9-inch pie shell (I used frozen but Elise has a recipe for a homemade crust on her blog)
  • 1/2 yellow, chopped and sauteed (The saute is optional; I just prefer my onions that way)
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)*
  • 2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozarella)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Crystal Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Follow package directions for baking pie crust…your goal is to achieve a light golden brown color.

My frozen pie crust of choice...mine was thawed
My frozen pie crust of choice…mine was thawed
Pie crust baking in the oven at 350 degrees...mine took about 12 minutes to get to the desired color
Pie crust baking in the oven at 350 degrees…mine took about 12 minutes to get to the desired color

Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.

After squeezing the excess moisture from, my tomatoes, I drained them with a strainer
After squeezing the excess moisture from, my tomatoes, I drained them with a strainer
Then I spread them out on a paper towel to absorb even more of the moisture
Then I spread them out on a paper towel to absorb even more of the moisture

After removing the pie from the oven, I added some extra punch by brushing on Dijon Mustard on the bottom and sides of the crust.

Mustard brushed on the bottom and sides
Mustard brushed on the bottom and sides

Next. spread your onions on the bottom of the pie crust.

Onions spread onto crust
Onions spread onto crust

Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions. I added some salt and pepper here.

The tomatoes go next
The tomatoes go next

Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.

Now for the basil....This is really looking pretty!
Now for the basil….This is really looking pretty!

In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball.  Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

I just used a packaged blend of Italian cheeses..
I just used a packaged blend of Italian cheeses..
Cheese Mixture is the final step
Cheese Mixture is the final step

Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, around 30-40 minutes.  I think you need an internal temperature of about 150 degrees.  This can also easily be made ahead, just make sure you bring it to room temperature before baking and it may need a few additional minutes of baking.

Pie Baking in the oven
Pie Baking in the oven

If your pie browns too much on top, before it reaches the desired temperature in the middle, just place a loose piece of foil over it.

Trying to keep that crust pretty while the inside is heating
Trying to keep that crust pretty while the inside is heating
Out of the oven...look at that yummy cheese topping!
Out of the oven…look at that yummy cheese topping!

Tomato Pie is served!

Layers of yummy!
Layers of yummy!

You truly could serve this as a meatless main dish with a side salad or use it as a side dish like we did!

My husband's plate...Tomato Pie, Country Ham, and 2 Poached Eggs!
My husband’s plate…Tomato Pie, Country Ham, and 2 Poached Eggs!

Bottom Line:  On the first bite, you feel a burst of savory, tomato and cheese flavors!  Delicious!  This was so easy to make and I will be making it again and again and again!  I may even switch it up by adding some hot peppers to my onion mixture and even try different cheeses.  I LOVED THIS!  Thank you, Simply Recipes, thank you Carole Hicks, and thank you, Tina Rymer!

“Keep on Cookin”!

For the original recipe see:

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tomato_pie/

One Comment on “Tomato Pie….A Recipe with a Hometown Story

  1. Pingback: Tomato & Pancetta Pie…An Update to an Old Favorite! – reciperealities

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