Friday, August 19, 2011

Corn and Tomato Pie

On my way home from the farmer's market with a bag of sweet corn in one hand and a selection of heirloom tomatoes in the other, I had only one image in my mind. In my mind, I could see the glossy page featuring a large, brightly-colored corn and tomato pie. I knew that would be dinner. I quickly searched all resources where I could have seen the recipe, and it turns out that my memory was from Gourmet two summers ago. Oh, those happy days of Gourmet. 

These tomatoes look like lace coasters when sliced thinly crosswise, don't they?

Once I found the recipe, the pie came together very simply. I used a mixture of white and whole wheat flours in the wet biscuit dough for the crust. It mixed up in a flash and rolled out quickly, too. Although I usually don't roll dough out with plastic wrap, I recommend doing it this time because the dough is so sticky. 

Between the crusts, you layer tomatoes, corn kernels, cheddar cheese, and herbs. I didn't bother peeling the tomatoes. And I skipped entirely a mixture of mayonnaise and lemon juice which you are supposed to add. Adding mayo to a fresh veggie pie just didn't seem right to me. 

What a pie. 

I drained the vegetables, but still, the pie was very juicy when served hot. After a day in the fridge, though, the cold leftover pie slices held together much better. Both ways were delicious, though. I'm not a huge cheddar fan, but the cheddar flavor added substance without overwhelming the sweet, fresh corn. 

Tomato and Corn Pie
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2009

2 cups flour (Either all-purpose or a mix of all-purpose and wheat. I used 1/2 cup wheat)
1 T baking powder
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, plus an optional 2 t melted
3/4 c whole milk
1 3/4 lb tomatoes
3 ears corn
2 T finely chopped basil
1 T finely chopped chives
7 oz coarsely grated sharp cheddar (1 3/4 c)

Peel your tomatoes if you feel like it, then slice them crosswise 1/4 in thick. Put the slices in a colander or sieve and allow them to drain for an hour or so, pressing down on them to release the liquid. Cut the kernels from the corn and put it in a sieve, pressing down. Chop the herbs finely. 

Preheat oven to 400. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 t salt in a large bowl, then blend in cold butter with your fingertips until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball. Divide dough in half and roll out one piece between two sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-in round, 1/8 in thick. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap and lift the dough using the bottom sheet of plastic wrap. Invert onto a 9 inch pie plate, and smooth it out before removing the plastic wrap. 

Arrange half of the tomatoes in crust, overlapping. Sprinkle with half of the corn, basil, chives, cheese and 1/2 t salt and 1/8 t pepper. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper, and cheese.

Roll out remaining dough into another 12 inch round and fit over filling. Fold overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinch edge to seal. Cut steam vents in the top crust and brush crust with melted butter or milk if you prefer.

Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch potential drips and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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