Tomato pie with bacon and jalapeños
On my refrigerator is a photo my mom sent me from last Thanksgiving. It’s a shot of a long wooden table that’s been topped with an array of pies. There are cream pies, pecan pies, fruit pies and chess pies. They’re not perfect, as the crusts may have rough edges and the meringues don’t always form even peaks. But this is what tells you that these are pies that have been made by hand, with love. There’s nothing better than homemade pie.
At family gatherings, pies are usually the way we conclude our meals, but lately I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate pies into the beginning and the middle of the meal, as well. Tomatoes are not only at their peak right now, but it’s also starting to cool down outside—baking tomatoes into a pie just seems right.
There’s a classic Southern tomato pie recipe that calls for an abundance of mayonnaise. This is not it. While that’s a fine pie, it’s always felt like a side player to me and I wanted something heartier—a pie that could take center stage.
To reach this goal, I first decided to bake my pie in a deeper dish. I used a large cast-iron skillet, but a regular deep-dish pie pan would work as well. I also gave the pie a cornmeal biscuit crust, which is substantial enough to support the pie’s layers but soft and tender enough to absorb some of the tomato’s juices, too.
Adding lots of bacon seemed like a good idea, as it’s a natural partner with tomatoes. And there are also jalapeños, which give the pie an additional bite, along with pepper Jack cheese, which holds it all together.
The end result is a hearty, satisfying slice that works well as a main dish. Though if you wanted to cut it into smaller slices it could be a starter or a side dish instead. You could almost say it’s a little bit like a deep dish pizza, though to me, it still feels like a pie. And while it’s best served warm, straight from the oven, it’s still good at room temperature, which also makes it a great travelling dish for your next potluck.
Because it’s baked, you could make this pie with those hothouse tomatoes you find at the store when they’re no longer in season. But I recommend making it now, as it will be at its best with ripe tomatoes that are plump with juice and full of flavor. Plus, there’s nothing better than homemade pie.
Tomato pie with bacon and jalapeños
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups 12 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
- 8 ounces cooked bacon, diced
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Place the sliced tomatoes in a colander and then place the colander in a mixing bowl. Toss the tomatoes with the salt, and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to extract some of the juices.
- Meanwhile, to make the crust, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. Cut into the flour the chilled butter, until the flour has a crumbly, pea-like texture. Stir in the buttermilk and mix until well combined. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and roll it out into it’s about an 11-inch circle.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a deep-dish pie pan or a large cast-iron skillet. Gently lift the dough and place it into the pan, working the dough until the pan is evenly lined with the crust. (Unlike regular pie crusts, I don’t do anything fancy with the top of the crust since it’s puffier than most as it’s a biscuit crust, I simply make sure it goes to the top of the pan.)
- To fill the pie, sprinkle half of the cheese along the bottom of the crust. Layer in the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño slices and bacon, topping with the remaining cheese.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the pie pan on top. (This is to catch any juices if it boils over.) Slide the sheet into the oven and cook the pie uncovered for 30 minutes or until the crust and cheese are lightly browned and the pie is bubbling.
I recently came across the recipe somewhere online, but not your website. It looked like the perfect thing to take to a pot luck I had the next day. I’m a former Texan now on a gorgeous island in the Pacific Northwest where Tex-Mex is hardly known and the Calif.-Mex is “different” up here as well.
So, anyway, I made it and came home with an empty pie plate. Pity. So I made another for a pot luck today for Mexican foods, it being Cinco de Mayo. Well, it DOES have jalapeños and tomatoes in it and I use Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina as it has a touch of lime in it and that’s close. I printed out 8 copies of your recipe with your website on it and had none to bring home.
Tomorrow a church from @ 90 miles up the road, over the bridge and around the curve is sending down 40 members of their choir to serenade us, more or less, an annual event. And we’ll have a pot luck to honor them before they drive back up to their fair city. Wanna guess what I’m taking? And because people in WA state seem to have a high regard for gluten free, I used Bob’s Red Mill G.F Baking flour. I have, in the past, made it with whole wheat flour, to keep peace with the locals who want to use home grown wheat in their cooking. I can’t tell the difference. I am taking two pies, the GF and the whole wheat one.
Oh, I top the pie with the slices of jalapeño so those who don’t care for them or are afraid to eat something with spice in it can manage the rest and not faint! You’d think that with all the Thai and Indian restaurants that abound, that some of these nice people would get used to hot!
Thanx for creating such a good recipe. Looking forward to trying some of your other pieces of culinary, gustatory art.
Jelcy–This makes my day! I’m so pleased that the tomato pie has been such a potluck hit with your friends! And love the idea of using masa harina–will be trying that next time.
This was delicious! It took a bit longer than 30 minutes to bake – more like 50 – and I’m not exactly sure what caused it, but my husband (Texas born and raised) was thrilled. Will make again.