Tomato and cheese pie is a Southern summer specialty. Creamy cheese and fresh tomatoes, a match made in heaven, get even more of a boost with a cream cheese crust, chives, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Perfect for a leisurely lunch.
Visually stunning, this summer showstopper is my favorite recipe for entertaining during the peak of tomato season. Chives and parsley give flavorful support to the ripe tomatoes without overpowering them. The sharp bite of black pepper matches the creamy cheese, and the display of this dish’s colorful tomatoes shouts summer. It doesn’t matter whether in Kerala or Kennesaw, tables draped with a brightly colored madras cloth adorned with this bright tomato pie as the centerpiece is summer party perfection.-Asha Gomez
HOW DO I BLIND BAKE A PIE CRUST?
The crust for this pie is “blind baked,” a process of baking a pie crust without the filling. In this instance, the crust is partially baked, filled, and then baked again. You can use a small, easy to remove chain weight or pottery pie beads to keep the crust’s bottom from rising, but rice also works well.
Tomato and Cheese Pie
- 2 pounds large ripe tomatoes thickly sliced
- 1/2 of Cream Cheese Pie Crust recipe (1 crust) rolled to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut into a 12-inch (30-cm) circle
- 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese preferably full-fat, drained in a colander to remove excess moisture
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 1/2 cups grated Manchego cheese
- 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons very ﬁnely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh coarsely ground black peppercorns divided
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper ﬂakes divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the tomatoes in a colander to drain for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Reserve the juice for later use, if desired.
☞TESTER TIP: If your tomatoes are still quite wet after draining, lay them on paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
- Line a 9-inch (23-cm) cast-iron skillet or deep-dish pie pan with the dough and prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork to keep it from puffing up while baking. Line the dough with parchment paper. Place pie weights or rice over the bottom and up the sides of the paper.
- Bake until the edges are beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and return to the oven to bake until the interior crust is light golden, about 10 minutes more. Place the pie crust in the skillet or pan on a rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, Manchego, breadcrumbs, garlic, chives, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well.
- Evenly spread the cheese mixture into the crust. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt over the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil.
- Bake the pie until the tomatoes are browned, 45 to 60 minutes. Place the pie on a rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing to serve.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This tomato and cheese pie is manicotti in a pie, minus the spinach. I love manicotti. I might just start adding Manchego cheese to my recipes. The addition of the crushed red pepper flakes gives a really nice heat at the end which we all liked.
I sliced my tomatoes into ½” slices but next time I’ll cut them even thicker so that I only have a single layer. I had to shingle my tomatoes which required 60 minutes in the oven. They produced quite a bit of liquid even though I pressed them between layers of paper towel after draining. I simply removed the excess liquid with a paper towel and it was fine.
I’m not sure what the crust brings to the table. There is so much flavor in the filling that I don’t think the cream cheese would be missed if it wasn’t there. This makes an excellent lunch or light dinner. Just add a nice side salad and you’re done.
WOW, this tomato and cheese pie packs a punch! It's got it all: deep tomato flavor, rich cheese filling, flaky crust - and it's fancy enough for company while still being relatively easy to make. It's quite a rich pie, and we served it with a green salad on a stupidly hot evening, perfect.
I used a solid 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil instead of the chives and it was definitely a good call, though if I could have found chives, I'd have done both. I also used a bit more garlic than was called for in the recipe, only about 1/2 tsp more, and at first, I was worried that it was too much (is that possible??) but it's quite lovely. As I was making the pie I also worried that the amount of salt/pepper/chili flakes that was going on the very top seemed excessive, but again, it was perfect. The tomato layer is so thin that it managed to season the whole thing, even though the slices were overlapping and two deep, so don't be afraid!
The one caveat I have is that this is not, strictly speaking, a tomato pie. I know, it's called “tomato AND cheese pie" but there's waaaaayy more cheese. Don't get me wrong, the tomatoes hold their own, but if what you want is that classic tomato pie, you might be disappointed ... at least until you put the first bite in your mouth! Also, this is a very deep pie. I made it in my 10" cast iron skillet and it filled it almost to the top. I also brushed the hot, parbaked crust with beaten egg and some dry, granulated parmesan to seal it against the rather wet filling.
Originally published August 8, 2021