Round Thirty Eight — Tomato Pie; or, Tomato Pie Crust; or, Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits
Nothing like making a confusing title, huh? Sorry about that. I just didn’t want to leave anyone out.
This here post is a little different. You see, I was making a tomato pie from this Web site the other day, and thought, “Hey! I like the sound of this pie crust recipe!” As it turns out, the pie crust isn’t naturally a pie crust at all, but Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits masquerading as pie crust.
So really, it’s a bread that served as a pie crust that served as the bottom of our delicious dinner. If that makes sense.
I have to say, the crust was probably the best part of this whole party of food. (Of course, mayo and cheddar cheese baked to a browned, gooey finish isn’t so bad either. And neither are the homegrown heirloom tomatoes hiding underneath. But even then, the crust steals the show.) It’s thick and fluffy, unlike normal pie crusts that are often thin and crunchy and rather boring. The savoriness of the parsley/oregano/basil mixture combined with flakes of sweet butter made the dough taste even more wonderful. And with juicy, ripe tomatoes from my mother’s now-rampant garden, it was a meal to die for.
So long as there’s tomato pie in heaven.
Debrief: As far as the pie crust/parsley biscuit dough goes, I don’t have much to say. It did its job well. As far as the tomato pie itself, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mayo (and in fact only used 1/2 cup of the 1 1/2 cups it originally calls for). I might use something less overpowering and fattening, like yogurt or low-fat sour cream, in place of the mayo next time I make this bad boy. We also only needed four large tomatoes for the whole pie, not five or even six as the recipe indicates.
Tomato Pie Crust/Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits
Courtesy of Ruth Reichl
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
A “flurry” of chopped parsley (or Italian seasoning, as I used)
3/4 cups buttermilk
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl fixed with the paddle attachment. Add in cold butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas. Add the parsley and buttermilk and mix until dough pulls completely from the sides. Pour dough onto counter and knead for a couple minutes, then press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
James Beard’s Tomato Pie
Courtesy of Ruth Reichl
4 to 6 thickly-sliced ripe tomatoes
Sprinkling of salt
Sprinkling of pepper
Sprinkling of shredded basil
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or 1 1/2 cups, as original recipe suggests)
Cover the biscuit dough with tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil. Mix cheddar and mayo together and spread the mixture on top of the tomatoes. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Stuff into face.