I used to make tomato pie from More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, which (along with Home Cooking) is one of my favourite books. Tomato Pie the epitome of summer comfort food…tomatoes baked with cheese, herbs and a bit of home-made mayonaisse in the most delicious biscuit crust. I tweaked the recipe over the years to suit me (slow roasting the tomatoes, adding pesto, using yogurt in the biscuit dough) and used it to improvise all kinds of other vegetable and fruit pies in the same biscuit crust. Try a peach pie with a biscuit dough crust or a corn, leek, mushroom and pepper pie…Yum! It was a golden key recipe for me. Then I had to stop eating gluten, and every summer I have missed eating tomato pie. This summer, I have sorted out not one, not two, but THREE gluten-free tomato pie inspired recipes. I am feeling very pleased with myself. The first is very like my version of original pie. The second is an elegant tomato ricotta tart. At the end is a recipe for a simple tomato cobbler.
If you have never had tomato pie, you should try one (or all) of these recipes. You won’t regret it. For those of you who do eat gluten, I have included links to standard versions of the recipes as well. In my personal opinion, tomato pie (or tarts or cobblers) should be served with my Aunty Mona’s Bean Salad and a cherry, apricot and raspberry salad for desert. Happy Summer!
This makes a smaller pie than the original recipe. I used a 7 inch pie tin with high straight sides. If you want to make a larger pie, I recommend doubling the biscuit recipe. For the original recipe using wheat flour, go to the 4 reasons to make home-made mayonnaise post and scroll down.
- 1 and 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes.
- 2 Cups Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix, sifted (you can find the recipe for the mix here)
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons butter, cold
- 4 Tablespoons leaf lard or shortening, cold (or just use extra butter if you don’t use these)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup pesto (or minced fresh basil or chives)
- 1/4 cup home-made mayonnaise (You can find directions for making mayonnaise here or use store-bought, thinned with lemon juice)
- 1 egg whisked with a couple of teaspoons of water
- In order to avoid a soggy pie, you must take some of the moisture out of the tomatoes. I recommend slow roasting them. For directions on how to roast tomatoes click here, but leave out the garlic and rosemary. If you are using plum tomatoes, you could peel and seed them instead of roasting them. The directions on how to peel and seed tomatoes can be found here. You cannot peel and seed cherry tomatoes. Either way, I usually prepare the tomatoes in advance.
- To make the crust, combine the gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the fat is in pea sized lumps.
- Cut the lard in to the flour until the mixture is the consistency of course cornmeal a few pea sized lumps.
- Add the buttermilk or yogurt and stir to just combine.
- Divide the dough in half. Place half of the dough in your pie tin and put the other half in the fridge, in a bowl covered with a damp towel.
- Use damp finger to spread half of the biscuit dough across the bottom and up the sides of your pie tin. If it gets too soft and sticky put it in the fridge to cool off a bit. It is totally okay if this looks lumpy and ugly.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- If you have peeled and seeded your tomatoes, chop them as well.
- Spread the tomatoes in to the lined pie tin. Top them with the pesto (or herbs), then the cheese, and finally the thinned mayonnaise.
- Roll the chilled biscuit dough out between two sheets of wax paper that have been lightly dusted with gluten-free flour. Peel the top sheet of wax paper off and, using the bottom sheet of wax paper for support, flip the rolled out dough onto the top of the pie. Remove the wax paper. Trim the edges of the crust and pinch them together to make a fluted crust.
- Cut some steam vents into the top of the pie and brush the top with egg wash before baking for 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool a bit before eating it. I think that this pie is best served just a little warm or at room temperature with Aunty Mona’s Bean Salad.
GLUTEN-FREE TOMATO, ROSEMARY, RICOTTA TART
For this recipe, it is best to make the crust and roast the tomatoes in advance, since both must be totally cool when you add the cheese filling. I recommend this gluten-free crust recipe even if you eat wheat, because gluten-free crust does not get soggy. If you want a good recipe for a conventional all-purpose wheat flour savory tart crust, I recommend the pate brisee recipe in the Silver Palate Cookbook. If you are using a wheat flour crust just fill the tart at the very last-minute because wheat crusts sog up pretty quickly.
- 1 pre-baked gluten-free quiche crust. Click here for the recipe. I like to throw some dry tarragon, thyme, oregano and basil into the batter for this tart.
- 3 pounds of cherry tomatoes.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 or 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- A couple of teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 cup high quality whole-milk ricotta (goat milk ricotta is nice, if you can get it)
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Slow roast the tomatoes, garlic, rosemary in the olive oil. For directions on how to slow roast in the oven, click here. Allow the roasted tomatoes to cool completely before filling the tart in the oven.
- Whip the ricotta, mascarpone and salt together.
- When you are ready to serve the tart, fill the cool crust with the creamy cheese filling and top with the cooled roasted tomatoes. Serve at room temperature or chilled with Aunty Mona’s Bean Salad.
GLUTEN-FREE TOMATO COBBLER
I adapted this recipe from the food blog Lottie and Doof, so if you eat gluten, you should just hop of over there and make this recipe immediately! I adapted it by using Jeanne’s gluten-free flour mix from the blog The Art of Gluten Free Baking instead of wheat flour. I also used yogurt instead of heavy cream. Lord knows that I love cream, but the sad truth is that gluten-free flours just do not have the same magical interaction with animal fat that wheat flour does. Reducing the fat a bit is usually required when adapting a baking recipe to be gluten-free…otherwise you get greasiness. I also used aged gouda cheese, because I am the only person in the world who does not love Gruyère cheese. I imagine that it would be nice with aged cheddar as well.
I was not sure about this when it first came out of the oven, but I was rapidly won over. The filling is liquidy…but sooo delicious (especially since you have the biscuit dough topping right there to sop it up). Also, I initially found the whole cooked cherry tomatoes a bit daunting…but the simple, sweet deliciousness of the tomatoes won me over. I mean who cares if you squirt tomato juice all over your shirt!? That just means that you are celebrating summer!
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 and 1/2-3 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used Jeanne’s all-purpose mix)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Jeanne’s all-purpose mix)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup grated aged cheese (Gruyère, gouda or cheddar), plus 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups yogurt
- Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook onions with a sprinkle of salt, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, and red-pepper flakes with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form. Stir in cheese, then add yogurt, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms. The dough will be soft and sticky.
- Transfer tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish (2 inches deep). Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over top in a circle, leaving center open. If you don’t leave the open space in the middle then the center of your cobbler will take FOREVER to cook. The hole helps the biscuit dough to cook evenly and provides a place for steam from the filling to escape.
- Sprinkle the biscuit dough with remaining tablespoon cheese. Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes and serve it with Aunty Mona’s Bean Salad.