Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Tomato Pie

Last week something very exciting happened. I went out into my garden to cut some zinnias, and I noticed that there were TONS of cherry tomatoes on a couple of the tomato plants. I think I started jumping up in down because I was so happy (wow, my life must be pretty boring). Before last week, we had only picked a total of 4 cherry tomatoes at a time off of the plant. Our large tomatoes didn't do well either. Well, I ended up picking about 40 cherry tomatoes from the plants and another 50 just the other day. The cherry tomatoes are obviously late bloomers (I guess they take after me)!

I couldn't not make something with the tomatoes from my garden. I was thinking of making the cherry tomato tart with the basil garlic crust, but then I remembered that my mom had sent me a recipe for this tomato pie. I remember her making the pie a couple times many years ago, and I decided that it might be fun to make. It's completely different than the cherry tart. Instead of mozzarella cheese it uses ricotta, and instead of using basil it uses thyme. It is also healthier than the tart because ricotta cheese is much lower in calories than mozzarella. It's also packed with protein! I would guesstimate that a piece (1/8 of the three tomato pie) has under 250 calories. Not too shabby - especially because it is filling & delicious. I've made it twice in the past week. And, if I get some more cherry tomatoes, I just might have to make it again! Enjoy!

Recipe for Three Tomato Pie

For the crust
1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 tsp. of kosher salt
4 1/2 Tbsp. of vegetable shortening
4 Tbsp. of ice cold water
For the filling
1/2 cup of fresh parmesan cheese, grated
2 egg whites
1 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tsp. of dried thyme leaves, plus more for sprinkling
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 roma tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch slices
6 - 7 yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced (not in half, but in thin slices)
3 - 4 red cherry tomatoes, sliced (not in half, but in thin slices)
1 Tbsp. of Extra-Virgin olive oil
Salt, for sprinkling

For the crust
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until just combined. Add the 4 1/2 Tbsp. of shortening to the bowl. Pulse, several times, until the mixture because crumby. With the processor running, pour 1 Tbsp. of the cold water through the feed tube. Continue to add more water through the tube until the mixture forms into a ball and leave the sides of the bowl. Gather up the dough and slightly flatten it into a disc. Wrap in saran wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
After dough has been in the fridge, take it out and place it into a 10-inch pie pan. Press it out evenly over the bottom of the pan and press the dough up on the sides of the pan. Cover the dough with a piece of foil and fold the foil over the edges of the pie pan. Put pie weights on the foil; in the center of the pan. Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, carefully remove the weights and foil from the pan. Place back in the oven and cook for another 6 - 7 minutes. Remove from oven and lower the oven temperature to 330 degrees. Make the filling.
For the filling
Pour the egg whites into a medium-sized bowl (to easily separate egg whites and yolks, use an egg separator). Add the ricotta cheese in with the egg whites. Use a fork to mix the egg whites and ricotta cheese together, until smooth. Add in the pressed garlic, thyme, and freshly ground black pepper (about 5 - 6 grinds). Mix.
For assembling
Scatter the grated parmesan cheese evenly over the bottom of the cooked pie crust. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the cheese. Put the tomatoes on the ricotta layer. Arrange the sliced Roma tomatoes  so they are up against the edge of the crust and overlap them to form a circle. Place all but one slice of the yellow cherry tomatoes right inside of the Roma tomatoes, and arrange them into a circle. Then arrange the red cherry tomatoes inside of the yellow cherry tomato circle. Place the one yellow cherry tomato slice in the last inner circle. Evenly drizzle the one tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle a generous amount of thyme over the tomatoes and sprinkle on some salt. Top with a couple grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
Place the assembled tomato pie in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pie 180 degrees halfway through cooking. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Recipe Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

COMMENTS: What is your favorite dish that you like to make with tomatoes? Let me know by posting a comment!