As promised, here is the recipe for the savory fruit pie I demonstrated at The LA Times The TasteLA food extravaganza on Sunday. I say fruit because, after all the tomato is a fruit which is one reason why this particular pie is so easy to throw together. The tomatoes act like berries, bursting apart once the heat of the oven penetrates the pie. The juices that seep out of the bursted beauties mix with a small amount of flour to thicken. A take on one of Martha Stewart’s most brilliant recipes, the simple ingredients of seasonal cherry tomatoes, sweet translucent cooked onion and basil mixes with the butter and cheese dripping down from the crust to become a dish so addicting the first time I had it (at a friend’s house in Rome) I ate three pieces. I tend to be excessive with good pie. My take on her original recipe is here.
But because I was making dough on one of the hottest days of the year I decided to use a much more forgiving Cream Cheese Dough that Pastry Chef-Co-Owner of Cook’s County Roxana Jullapat taught me. The dough is just flour, butter and cream cheese, no water. That makes it tender as well as flakey and no need to worry about fighting gluten or softening butter, since you want the butter to be soft anyway.
EVAN’S TOMATO COBBLER from The TasteLA
You may choose to use a 9” pyrex pie dish or a ceramic deep dish pie dish. Adjust the amount of tomatoes to the size of your dish. Use 6 T flour for deep dish, 4 T for regular pie pan
Cream Cheese Dough
makes enough for 1 single crust 9″ pie or Cobbler topping. For double crust pie double the recipe
8 ounces cream cheese (not whipped). cut into 4 pieces
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In the bowl of a mixer, combine 2 cups flour, salt, and sugar to mix dry ingredients. Add butter and mix on low until it comes together. Add cream cheese and mix until flour is mixed in but you still see some streaks of cream cheese.
Scrape dough out of the bowl and onto the counter and form into a puck. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 1 hour up to overnight.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds assorted cherry tomatoes (or enough to fill your choice of pie plate)
1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 – 6 tablespoons flour
Softened Butter for greasing pan
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and softened. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Place tomatoes in a bowl with salt, pepper, basil, and cooled onion. Toss to mix well. Add flour and mix again so that tomatoes are coasted with it.
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
1/4 cup grated Gruyere
Bringing it all together:
Preheat oven to 375º for Cobbler, 425 for double crust pie. For double crust pie put oven rack close to the bottom of the oven. For cobbler have a rack in the middle.
Spread butter on bottom and sides of chosen pie dish. Fill dish with prepared tomato mixture and set aside while you roll out the dough.
Roll the dough into a circle. When nearly done rolling, sprinkle almost all of the cheese over the dough and roll gently so the cheese adheres to the dough. Roll the dough into a circle large enough to cover the tomatoes in the dish and have 1 to 2 inches of overhang depending on how thick you want your edge to be.
Place dough atop the tomatoes in your pie dish. Tuck the dough over the tomatoes and fold the edge then crimp it as you like. Make 3 to 4 symmetrically placed slits in crust. Be sure the cuts are completely open so steam can escape.
Brush egg wash over crust, then finish with a sprinkle of remaining cheese. Put pie on baking sheet to catch drips. If you made a double crust pie, turn the oven down to 375º after 20 minutes. Bake until crust is golden and insides are bubbling, about 50 minutes.
Let cobbler cool a bit before serving to allow the juices to fully thicken. Delicious served warm or at room temperature.