Thursday, August 25, 2016

Corn and Tomato Pie

My life is way busier than when I first started this journal, but I still have the strong desire to make the longer-prep recipes that keep my skills sharp and, better yet, are delightfully delicious. Occasionally, I actually get a chance to tackle one of these recipes, getting excited all over again about cooking and, more importantly, getting excited about the results.

Now, I’m not going to say the effort I made toward this Corn and Tomato Pie was perfect. As usual, it was pie crust that got me down. The pastry I attempted needed some help and I didn’t allow myself enough time for fiddling, so I punted and used a store-bought model from my friends at Pillsbury. (We’re not really friends.)

Anyway, this savory pie is kind of a quiche that’s stuffed with corn, preferably freshly cut from a freshly-harvested fresh cob (although frozen will do) and tomatoes at the peak of their very own delicious ripeness. I didn’t have quite enough large tomatoes (from my garden!) for this recipe, so I filled in the gaps with halved cherry tomatoes (also from my garden!)

This pie just bursts with the sweet, ripe flavors of these beautiful garden vegetables. The corn is a bit chewy, and, while tomatoes are naturally extra-juicy, they are well-balanced by the other ingredients in the pie’s filling, so they don’t make it soggy or mushy. There’s just enough egg and cheese to hold the filling together, so it cuts into fairly clean wedges, especially when you consider that they’re trying to hold together corn kernels and beautifully sloppy ripe tomatoes.

I always get excited about a dish like this, and each time I make one, I vow to make such dishes more often. Now that I’ve gone through this one at least a bit mindfully, I think I can see how I can approach this recipe, and others like it, with more efficiency, better planning, and perhaps a bit of advanced preparation. Until I can turn such ideas into something functional, however, please don’t judge me for using store-bought pie dough. Judge me based on what’s on the inside: the luscious late-season combination of sweet corn and succulent tomatoes. Yum!

Corn and Tomato Pie
Adapted from Eating Well magazine, July/August 2010

You can use an equivalent amount of halved cherry tomatoes in place of the sliced tomatoes.

Pastry for a single crust pie
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out the pastry to about a 12-inch circle. Loosely drape into a 9-inch pie pan. (Use a deep dish pan if you have one.) Gently press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, being careful not to stretch the dough.

2. To blind bake the crust, take a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the whole pastry. Spray it with cooking spray. Cover the pastry with the foil, spray side down. Cover the foil with pie weights. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and set the pie pan on a rack to cool at least 10 minutes. (You can cool this up to an hour.)

3. To make the filling, combine the eggs and milk in a medium-size bowl. Whisk together until very well combined. Whisk in the salt and pepper.

4. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the partially baked pie crust. Layer half the tomatoes over the cheese. Layer the corn and basil over the tomatoes. Layer the remaining cheese over the corn and then the remaining tomatoes over the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top of everything.

5. Bake the pie at 400 F for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and not coated with undercooked egg. Let cool on a rack at least 20 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated. Reheat individual servings in the microwave.

Makes 8 servings.

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