The Best Tomato Pie
“You mean, like a deep-dish Chicago-style pizza?”
“Nope. Like an apple pie, but with tomatoes instead of apples.”
“Hmm… really? With two crusts?”
“Yep. With two crusts. In a pie dish.”
This is how most conversations go when I introduce the idea of tomato pie. I had also never heard of it when first served the glorious concoction by my dear friend Cassia, in Asheville, about 5 years ago. She, I believe, got the recipe from our friend Beth, but prior to that, the origins are lost (yes, if I really cared all that much, I’d call Beth and ask her; but who has the time, with all the pie-making and such?). The Pie had a very late presentation this year, because of our tomato woes. We didn’t grow our own, and the current drought conditions (and subsequent watering restrictions) in Georgia have left everyone short-handed, ending the tomato season early. But I finally got my hands on some lovely heirlooms last week — the preparations were made, the Thompsons were invited (keeping with our annual tradition of sharing a TP with a family who, after the initial introduction 4 years ago, comes back for more every summer), and the pie was consumed at Sunday lunch.
You must taste it to understand. Truly, I have yet to witness someone eat it and not be astonished by how good it really is. The basic premise is that it is a savory deep-dish pie, with key ingredients being garden-fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and good cheeses lending their complementary flavor to the fat in the crust. Warning: if you attempt to skimp on any of these key ingredients, a true Tomato Pie you will not create — and you will miss out on a taste of heaven!
Without further adieu, the recipe, courtesy Cassia Kesler, Beth Lutz, and someone else before that.