Kymberly loves to cook, bake, and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!
With an elegant top of overlapping sliced tomatoes, this delicious tomato pie is at home on a formal dinner table, but it's also great for a family meal or as a side dish at barbecues and picnics. This super-flexible and delicious pie is best made with home-grown tomatoes, straight from the vine, and fresh herbs from the garden. It is packed with vegetables, vitamins, and minerals.
A Perfect Pie for Vegetarians
Lacto-ovo vegetarians can enjoy this pie by leaving out the bacon; it's completely optional, and the pie tastes just as good without it.
In fact, if you want to serve this pie as a cold dish at a picnic, make the vegetarian version—it tastes wonderful cold. Omitting the bacon also reduces the calories and fat content of the pie, making it a better choice when on a diet.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
Serves 8 people as a main dish with a side salad
- 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 800 grams (large can) chopped or crushed tomatoes, drained
- 225 grams (1.5 cups) plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 100g (1 cup) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 50 grams (1/2 cup) vintage cheddar cheese, finely grated
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 eggs
- 80 milliliters (1/3 cup) milk
- small handful black or green olives, chopped
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), thinly sliced
- 100 grams (4 ounces) bacon, chopped (optional)
- large handful fresh basil, finely chopped
- leaves from 2 stems of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- a few sprigs fresh majoram or oregano, finely chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
Instructions: Quick Summary
- Line and butter a glass or Pyrex casserole dish.
- Finely chop herbs and slice the tomatoes and vegetables. Drain the chopped or crushed tomatoes. Finely grate the cheeses.
- Lay the tomato slices in the casserole dish, spoon over the drained chopped tomatoes and chopped herbs.
- Saute the vegetable mixture (with bacon, if using) and allow to cool, then layer on the chopped tomato and herb mixture.
- Make the parmesan scone dough: Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and spices together. Make a well. Mix in whisked egg and milk. Mix in cheeses. Fold in chopped olives (if using).
- Drop spoonfuls onto the pie, until covered.
- Bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for 45 minutes, or until the dough is golden and cooked through.
- Carefully invert onto serving plate.
Step 1: Prepare the Baking Dish
Butter and line the base of a glass casserole dish. It works without the lining, but it makes it easier (and neater) when turning the pie onto the serving plate.
Note: Don't preheat your oven: Glass and Pyrex casserole dishes can break when moving quickly from room temperature to very hot (inside the oven).
Step 2: Prepare the Filling
- Grind the mustard, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, and sesame seeds to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.
- Sauté the sliced capsicum, onion, and bacon in a non-stick frying pan with a little butter or oil. Use a low heat—they should be soft and not browned. Set aside to cool.
- You can add other flavors to this mix as it cooks. Garlic and paprika powder work well. Cumin and ground coriander add a more complex Asian-inspired flavor.
Step 3: Make the Crust
You can use a food processor or mix the crust ingredients by hand:
- Blend the flour, baking powder, and ground spices.
- Add the finely grated cheeses and whiz until well mixed.
- Drop the chunks of butter over the mixture in the food processor and blend until it resembles breadcrumbs (or rub the butter into the flour mixture by hand).
- Tip into a bowl and make a well in the center.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk. Tip into the center of the flour mixture and mix gently until well combined.
- Fold the chopped olives gently through the crust mixture.
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Step 4: Layer the Pie
- Lay the sliced tomatoes at the bottom of the casserole dish, so the slices overlap and cover the bottom completely.
- Sprinkle with some of the chopped herbs and extra freshly ground black pepper, if you would like.
- Spoon over and spread out the drained crushed or chopped tomatoes. (If there is too much water left in these tomatoes, it can make the crust soggy.)
- Sprinkle over more of the chopped herbs.
- Layer in the sautéed vegetable mixture and spread to evenly cover the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle over the remaining chopped herbs.
- Cover the entire top of the vegetables with spoonfuls of the crust mixture. Press lightly to make a roughly even surface. Small gaps will close during baking.
Step 5: Bake and Garnish
- Bake in a medium oven, 180ºC (350ºF), for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and cooked through.
- Cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a serving plate.
- Decorate with more fresh herbs, and serve with a salad or steamed greens.
Eat Within 1–2 Days
As the crust becomes soggy over time with the juices from the tomatoes and sauteed vegetables, this pie is best eaten the day it is cooked.
If there are any leftovers, something that rarely happens, store in a closed plastic tub in the fridge. Reheat leftover pie in an oven until warmed through; microwaves make the crust uncomfortably chewy.
Vitamins and Minerals, Per Slice
|Vitamins||% Daily Intake||Minerals||% Daily Intake|
Lycopene is a power anti-oxidant, found mostly in tomatoes. It turns down the body's inflammatory response, and some studies have proposed it can fight various cancers, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
If you suffer from an inflammatory condition—arthritis, sciatica, and even costochondritis and fibromyalgia—consider adding or increasing whole ripe tomatoes to your diet to help fight inflammation and pain!
- Vegetable Layers: You can add variety with a layer of your favorite sauteed vegetables. Onions, zucchini (courgettes), red bell peppers (capsicum), eggplants, or even finely sliced steamed green beans or snow peas can work well.
- Vegetables in the Crust: Chopped preserved vegetables like olives, sun-dried tomatoes or antipasto can be added to the cheesy crust.
- Different Cheeses: Crumbled feta cheese between the vegetable and base layers can taste delicious - decrease the amount of parmesan in the crust to allow the feta taste to shine through.
- Different Flours: You can use wholemeal flour, add some toasted grains or oats, or replace some of the flour with polenta for a different texture and taste. You could even make a crust with cooled mashed potatoes mixed into the flour mixture with the milk.
- Herbs and Spices: Use any combination of fresh and dried herbs and spices that you enjoy. Personally I love basil with tomatoes and rosemary, and mustard and chili peppers in the cheese crust.
Modifications for Food Allergies
- Gluten-Free: Swap the plain flour and baking powder for a gluten-free flour and gluten-free baking powder.
- Dairy-Free: For a dairy-free pie, omit the cheeses and milk, instead using 60 milliliters (1/4 cup) water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add 90 grams (3/4 cup) extra flour. Use a dairy-free margarine instead of butter, both in the crust and to grease the glass casserole dish.
Which Eggs Are Best?
Free-range eggs have a better nutritional content than battery hens, and the birds are able to go outside and scratch - healthier and happier. Organic egg-laying hens are fed organic feed, free of GMO grains and are not routinely treated with antibiotics. Less residue from pesticides and antibiotics are in organic eggs.
The best eggs are your backyard variety, when you know the hens have been fed organic feed, and they are healthy and happy. Learn more about the differences between the various types of eggs.
You can use dried herbs instead of fresh; if so, decrease the quantities, as the taste is stronger when dried. But, this pie tastes so much more delicious and summery when made with fresh herbs. They are easy to grow, even in a small balcony garden!
What Are Your Favorites?
What are your favorite flavors to add to ripe tomatoes? Why?
With home-grown fresh tomatoes, I love black pepper, rosemary, basil, hot chili peppers, and sweet red bell peppers. For me, it's the taste of summer!
Let us know in the comments below!