Tomato Corn Pie for Two
Wow! Time just really buzzes right on by! I was in the middle of some mindless task at work (spreadsheets, natch) when I realized that SoupAddict turns 3 this month. Three! Have the ramblings really gone on that long? [Checking the archives] Yup!
So what has SoupAddict been doing on the past three birthdays that she’s completely ignored?
2008: Slicing onions, sleeping through hurricane Ike, baking apple pies (while being taunted by a friend whom I later trounced in another cooking competition)
2009: [Mysteriously absent in the month of September ... hmmmmm.]
2010: Roasting pulled pork, making and mispronouncing gougeres
This year, I’m making souffles and soup and cookies, and ringing out the summer vegetable season with a glorious must-try dish: tomato corn pie. Yes, you must try this. I’ll say that clearly, and spare you the months of enjoyment that I lost in 2009, hesitating and eyeing this recipe suspiciously, before giving in to the heaps of praise it rightfully receives.
Two summers later, this is still a mainstay dish: A simple treatment that takes the flavors of summer and kicks them right up the stairs.
So, what was the hesitation all about, SoupAddict?
Well … you see … I have this thing about pies. Savory pies in general; meat pies, in particular. It’s not rational, it’s not normal. But then, most food aversions aren’t (and SoupAddict definitely isn’t).
The only reason I gave in at all was because I knew, intellectually, that dressed tomato and corn with cheese in a biscuit crust would be absolutely fabulous, even though my savory-pie-aversion tummy was cowering in fear. But if there’s one thing that Smitten Kitchen does well, it’s making dishes look over-the-top appetizing.
The biscuit crust is easy as [don't say it ... dooooonnn't say it ... "PIE!". Sorry, it just had to come out. SoupAddict cannot resist a pungroan opportunity], and tender and delicious to boot.
Bonus: the totally laid back and, like, chill biscuit dough is the perfect warm-up to pie baking season. Completely forgiving, you will have no trouble rolling out this dough. Trust SoupAddict on this one. She has battled her share of testy pie dough. This is the exact opposite of testy dough.
The original recipe on Smitten and Gourmet makes a full-sized pie, enough for 4 hungry people. Leftovers are delicious, but SoupAddict can’t spare the room in her fridge during canning season, so she scaled the recipe to make two individual servings.
Tip: this dish also cooks up beautifully in a 9″ cast iron skillet, or two small round cast iron servers. Even large (12-14 ounce) ramekins would work well.
As is sometimes the case, SoupAddict did not have a proper chance to photograph the final product before digging in. She’d apologize, but honestly, she wasn’t sorry at all. When you’re hungry, and you’ve got cheesy tomato corn pie calling from the oven, photos just have to wait.
One final tip: absolutely seed and drain the tomatoes as best you can. Otherwise, you’ll have a soggy bottomed pie. And no one likes a soggy bottom. Tomato lovers cringing in horror at the thought of discarding any part of a precious summer heirloom tomato, fear not. I always take about a tablespoon of the liquid tomato essence and stir it into the mayo-lemon dressing, for a little extra tomato oomph.
Tomato Corn Pie for Two
Yield: 2 servings
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
1 1/2 pounds heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 large tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups corn (from 2 ears), coarsely chopped by hand, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon reserved tomato juice, optional
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
sea salt, to taste
6 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (about 1 1/2 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, then divide each half into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other (for a total of four pieces). Roll out the first larger piece of dough into a 10-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick, on a well-floured surface. Gently lift round and place into the first serving dish, patting with your fingers to fit.
Repeat with the second larger piece of dough for the second serving dish.
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
Cut an X in the 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, core, then quarter with a sharp knife. Place a strainer over a bowl, and gently squeeze tomato quarters to extract seeds and most of the juice. Cut strained tomato quarters into 1/4 inch strips. Reserve 1 tablespoon of tomato juice, if desired
Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and tomato juice, if using.
Arrange half of tomatoes in one crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1/2 Tbsp basil, 1/2 Tbsp chives, about 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste), and 1/8 tsp pepper.
Repeat with the second serving dish, then sprinkle both dishes with about 3/4 cup cheese.
Pour lemon mayonnaise over both fillings, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Roll out one of the remaining pieces of dough into a 9-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Repeat for the second dish.
Cut 4 steam vents in the top of each crust and brush crusts with the melted butter.
Bake pies until crust is golden, 25 to 30 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.