You have all sorts of options when it comes to pie: you have sweet, savory, swe-avory, and then you have quiche... many wonderful combinations of crust and filling. Here, I offer you a pie that incorporates the humble tomato with a cheesy topping. No, not a pizza. No, not a quiche. I think you'll like it, though. This is a new favorite at our house.
A few notes: yes, there are multiple parts to this pie. None of them are complicated, though, and you can do them all at once, or you can do pieces in bits and spurts. I highly recommend making the pie dough the night before (at least); you can even blind-baked the crust ahead of time, too. And yes, you can absolutely skip to a purchased crust. Just be sure to put the purchased crust into a bigger preferably 10-inch pie pan (yes, you can use a 9.5 inch, too, but make sure it is nice and deep).
Use the tomatoes you have on hand. If they are Roma or plum, awesome. If they are large beefsteak, awesome. Don't go buy heirloom just for this; use what you have.
I know, you read the part about the anchovy paste and thought I was joking. It's a thing. It's a lovely addition, imparting an umami special something. If you don't have it on hand, then skip it. You can also finely chop an anchovy, if you have that. But again, skip it if you don't have any.
Yield: 10-inch pie
For the pie crust:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick) cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka cold
2 tablespoons cold water
For the fillings:
3 1⁄2 lb. vine-ripe tomatoes (Roma, beefsteak, plum, whatever kind you have on hand) cored, seeded, and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion thinly sliced into thin wedges
2 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped, optional
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄ 4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄ 3 cup packed whole basil leaves
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1⁄ 3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp anchovy paste, optional
1⁄ 3 cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 large Roma or heirloom tomatoes thinly sliced and blotted dry with paper towels
Make the pie crust:
Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into 10-inch pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Freeze unbaked pie for at least 15 minutes or until you're ready to blind-bake.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400. Lay foil or parchment paper on top of the crust and weigh that down with dried beans or rice. Blind-bake the shell for 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil or parchment and bake 5 minutes more. Set the cooked crust aside as you prepare the filling.
Make the filling:
Toss half of the diced tomatoes with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set them over a colander to drain while you get everything else ready, at least an hour. Save the tomato water that drips out for another recipe.
In a medium sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter and then add the onion and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat until deeply caramelized. This will take about 45 minutes. If the onion gets away from you and burns a little, add 1⁄4 cup of water to the pan, scrape up the over-browned bits, and keep going. In the end, you have a scant 2⁄3 cup caramelized onion. Set aside until ready to use.
As the onions are sautéing, roast the remaining tomatoes: Heat oven to 375. Toss the remaining diced tomatoes with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, sun-dried tomatoes, if using, and thyme, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a sheet tray with as much room separating the individual pieces as possible. Slide the tray onto the middle rack of your oven and roast for 30-35 minutes. You're looking for the tomatoes to dry out and brown slightly. When ready, remove from oven, and set aside.
Once all the individual components are done, in a large bowl, stir together the onion, the fresh and the roasted tomatoes, the remaining salt and black pepper.
Make the topping and finish the pie: In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the eggs, mozzarella, cheddar and Parmigiano, basil, and anchovy paste, if using. Spoon the filling into your blind-baked crust. Carefully, spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes, spreading to the edges of the pie. Shingle the tomato slices over the cheese mixture.
To bake: Heat oven to 375°. Bake in the middle of your oven for 40 - 50 minutes or until bubbly and starting to brown.
You can serve this warm or at room temperature. Both have their virtues. Enjoy!