A Savory Pie Bursting with the Flavors of Summer
When making a BLT the other day, I decided to add some bacon drippings to the aioli/mayonnaise I used on it and was so blown away by the flavor, I instantly knew I had to add it to a tomato pie. I want to be clear about what I made. This is a southern tomato pie. It’s made with pie crust. It’s not what is referred to in New Jersey as tomato pie. That’s delicious, but it’s a whole different animal.
I’ve made these southern pies in the past. Some have been much better than others, but I’d yet to make one I thought was ideal. One major factor that negatively impacts a tomato pie is the liquid in the tomatoes causes it to be too watery. In order to combat this, I chose to first roast all my tomatoes. I didn’t want them cooked down too much because the point of this pie is for the tomatoes to shine and if they reduce too much, you’d end up with a tomato sauce pie. That’s not what I had in mind.
I found that 40 minutes in the oven did the trick. They were still plenty juicy, but not watery and tasted bright. And seeing as how great the corn is right now, I decided it would be a perfect addition. After cooking up some onions in a little bacon fat, I stirred together my cheeses, bacon-aioli, crème fraîche, and was good to go.
After par-baking and cooling my pie crust, I spread Dijon mustard over the bottom and scattered it with grated parmesan. Then it was only a matter of layering on the tomatoes, onions, corn, cheese mixture, and letting it bake and cool.
I always knew what I wanted from a tomato pie and I finally got it. I used a lot more cheese than is normally called for, along with more aioli and thought the silky texture of crème fraîche would give me what I wanted in the filling. The bacon-aioli came through beautifully in the end. That smoky flavor added another flavor dimension to the pie that I loved.
The filling ended up being gooey, creamy, and luscious and I couldn’t have been happier. It is important that you don’t cut into the pie for awhile after if comes out of the oven, as it needs a little while to set up. Let it cool for at least a half hour, but I think an hour is even better. It will still be gently warm at that point. But this is also delicious at room temperature.