I have been dying to make this pie for three years now. The thing is, I forgot that I had been aching to try it until last weekend, when I was combing through my list of potential and future dishes to make for this blog. As soon as I saw “Tomato and Corn Pie”, the yearning sensation came flooding back and all the other ideas I had in mind for that weekend’s kitchen festivities were thrown out the window. My mind was on one track and one track only: Tomato and Corn Pie.
I don’t know what took me so long to actually make this pie. It is a relatively simple process and it makes use of two of summer’s most bountiful harvests: juicy, ripe, red tomatoes and sweet, golden corn. I first came across this pie on Smitten Kitchen’s site in August of 2009 and I remember thinking to myself how glorious and Southern this pie sounded, even though I had never heard of it before.
Now, I consider myself a Southern girl, through and through. And perhaps it’s all the servings of red beans and rice, banana puddin’ and fried okra that have helped to carve out a special place in my heart for Southern food. Or maybe it’s the memories of the many visits to grandma’s or grandpa’s somewhere deep in Tennessee and Arkansas. Whatever it is though, there is no doubt that I become nostalgic for Southern cuisine every now and again.
Southern food to me embodies warmth, family, story telling and generosity. There’s this idea that a family will gather around the table, in the heat of summer, sharing stories of days past while passing around the enormous bowls of fried chicken, gravy and cobbler, all being served family style of course. And that’s how I imagine I’d like to enjoy this pie. Yes, I could eat a whole Tomato and Corn Pie that way- or perhaps while lounging on a wrap around porch, with a sweet tea in hand and a warm, Southern (Texas) breeze on my face. Now, that’s heaven.
Tomato, Corn and Cheddar Pie
This pie is just as good served as a side to a main dish as it is enjoyed as an entrée all on its own. The biscuit like crust is light and flaky- a perfect foil to the rich, sharp cheddar. Serve this pie the same day it’s made, or risk the bottom crust becoming too soggy.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
6 tbsp, cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus 2 tsp melted
¾ cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise (as always, I use reduced fat Hellman’s)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
About 2 lbs hothouse or beefsteak tomatoes
1 ¾ cups fresh corn kernels, from about 3 ears of corn, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion, about ½ onion
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
7 oz coarsely grated sharp cheddar, about 1 ¾ cup
1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and ¾ tsp salt to combine. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, blend in the cold butter until it resembles course meal. Add the milk and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together.
2. Dump the dough mixture out onto a floured surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap one half in plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge. Roll out the remaining dough half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough round to a 9-inch pie plate and pinch the dough around the edges, trimming any overhang. Set aside.
3. Heat your oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and lemon juice and set aside.
4. Cut a small “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, blanch each tomato for about 10 seconds. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. When the tomatoes are cool, peel the skin off and slice into ¼-inch rounds. Gently remove the seeds and juicy middle parts from each slice of tomato (this will help prevent your pie from becoming overly soggy on the bottom).
5. Arrange half the tomato slices in the bottom of the pie crust, overlapping slightly. Top with half of the corn kernels, ¼ cup onion, 1 tablespoon basil, ½ tablespoon chives, a sprinkling of kosher salt and ground pepper and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining tomato slices, corn, onion, basil, chives, kosher salt and ground pepper to taste. Pour the mayonnaise mixture on top, spread around evenly and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.
6. Roll out the reserved dough into a 12-inch round. Place on top of the filled pie, arrange to fit nicely and pinch together the two layers of crust around the edges to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in the top of crust and then brush with the 2 tsp of melted butter. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 40-45 min. If the crust starts to get too brown, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Let the pie cool slightly before serving and enjoy!
Makes about 8 servings