The crust makes memorable this simple pie of tomatoes and cheese.
The surplus of cherry tomatoes has finally dwindled at our home to the last few treasures ripening inside. Thursday, we had a 65-degree day, and I let myself think perhaps my struggling cherry tomato plants might offer up something new. This morning? A frost, our first, way later than ever!
Armed with some lovely heirlooms from the farm stand, I decided that I needed to finally say farewell to summer, and that meant tomatoes and basil, with a little fresh mozzarella thrown in for good measure.
So, tomato pie it was –– a baked, one-crust pastry shell, filled with cheese and tomatoes, and warmed though until the cheese melts and the tomatoes soften. Simple, delicious, and always a hit.
I had an extra disc of the herbed pastry because I had just made a sweet pie, and I thought this might add a nice dimension to the tart.
The pie itself is one of our favorite recipes, served at room temperature, or even cold, it can take its place as an appetizer, a starter, a lunchbox or picnic treat, or a main course with a little salad. It is also really simple.
The addition of the rosemary crust was a hit! If you are entertaining, this is one of the best dishes to make a day ahead for a stress-free party. Use the full recipe to make a rimmed baking sheet sized tart and cut into little squares.
Choose tomatoes that are ripe, but still firm. Use your favorites. I think a mix of varieties with different flavors and colors is nice in this dish.
Tomato and Mozzarella Pie with Rosemary Lemon Crust
3 large tomatoes and a few cherry tomatoes if you have them
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. capers
2 cloves crushed garlic
A few basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper
Blind bake the pastry shell: Roll out your pastry and fill your pie dish, finishing the edges any way you like. Crumple up (to make pliable) a piece of parchment paper large enough to fill the pan with some ample hang over to make removal easy.
Fill this with pie weights, dried beans, dried rice etc., to weigh it down and keep the pastry from buckling in the middle. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the parchment and weights. Return the pastry to the oven and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Place the tomato slices on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and let them drain. This is essential or your pie will be watery.
Once the pie crust is baked, and the tomatoes drained, It’s all about assembly.
Spread out the slices of mozzarella in the bottom of the pie shell. Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese.
Mix together the olive oil, capers, and garlic and drizzle this over the pie. Add some salt and pepper and a little of the basil, finely minced.
Return the pie to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the tomatoes look nicely softened and the cheese is melted.
Let cool, and sprinkle with some fresh basil, torn, and some grated Parmesan if you like.
Serve at room temperature.
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