Updated: Jan 6
A few days ago, we went to the farm and picked way more tomatoes than we need. I made fermented salsa and fermented cherry tomatoes, and we ate caprese salad almost every night for dinner, but there were still tomatoes left! Since yesterday was Sunday, I decided to make something special for lunch. I was in the mood for tomato pie, so that's what we ate!
Tomato season in the South is a big deal, but it goes by quickly. It seems like the tomatoes ripen so fast! We love go to the farm and pick them. Every time I go I have to try not to buy more than I need. I never understood people who buy only one tomato, one apple etc. When I came to the US, during my first visit to the supermarket, I bought two bags of apples and two pints of tomatoes. You should've seen my husband’s face. He asked, “Honey, what are you going to do with all?!” Well, after few years, he got used to it. No more questions.
Usually I make traditional southern tomato pie with mayo and raw onions, but yesterday I made something a little different. I made tomato-ricotta pie. I used a regular pie crust, but I highly recommend making it in a tart shell because it tastes good, plus "tart" sounds a little bit fancier, which is perfect for Sunday dinner. Since there is custard involved in the filling, this dish is a little bit like a quiche, but it's also a little bit like a lasagna because of the ricotta cheese. It's great anytime. Serve it as a savory breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even for dinner with a nice side salad. I hope you enjoy this recipe and will give it a try soon.
Pie Crust Ingredients (for 1 pie)
1½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter
⅓ cup kefir or yogurt, plain
Filling Ingredients (for 2 pies)
2 lb tomatoes, any kind
1 big onion
1 head of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1¾ cup ricotta cheese
Herbs (thyme, basil, oregano)
I wrote the ingredients for one pie crust because I make one at a time in my food processor. If you're mixing the pie crust by hand, you can double the recipe and do it all at once.
You'll notice I say to add salt and pepper multiple times throughout the recipe. I do like to add a little bit as I go. Season it to your tastes.
In-season tomatoes have so much flavor. Keep in mind, when you harvest your tomatoes (any kind is good for this recipe), try to avoid keeping them in the fridge. Refrigerated tomatoes don't have the same flavor unfortunately.
Save the juice you collect from the tomatoes to use for salad dressing. I use the juice as an acid component in salad dressing. It's great for any kind of salad, but I especially like it on salads that are served with fried oysters. There's just something about that combo that I love. Also, raw oysters love the tomato-based sauce.
1. Cut the butter for the pie crust into cubes and set aside.
2. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor with the regular blade. Pulse.
3. Add the butter cubes to the food processor and pulse again.
4. Add the kefir or yogurt, and pulse a few more times.
5. Add the mixture to the pie dish and form it into a rustic-looking crust. It doesn't have to look perfect.
6. Place a foil sheet on top of the crust, and place some dry beans inside to keep the dough down during baking.
7. Bake crust for 15 minutes at 350F.
8. Remove the beans and bake another 15 minutes.
9. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool while you begin working on your filling.
10. In a cast iron pan, add olive oil and chopped onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add salt and pepper.
11. Add chopped garlic and thyme (leaves only). Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
12. When the onion looks nice and brown, almost caramelized, set aside.
13. Chop the tomato and season with salt. Set a colander on top of a bowl and place the salted tomatoes inside to drain. Save the juice that drips into the bowl (see note above).
14. Whisk the eggs in another bowl. Add salt and pepper, then whisk again.
15. Add ricotta cheese and the rest of the herbs, then mix well.
16. To assemble, add half the onion mixture, half the tomatoes, and half the ricotta mixture (save the other half for another pie).
17. Gently flatten the top of the pie and place in the oven at 350F for 40-45 minutes.
18. When the ricotta-tomato pie is nice and brown, take it out.
19. Let it cool down a bit before you slice it. You can serve it warm or room temperature.
This pie freezes easily. Since this recipe yields two pies, I usually serve one immediately and freeze one after it cools down.