Ms. Dixie and I stood in the kitchen that she had cooked in for 20 years on the day that we decided to purchase her home in Mississippi. “I promise to take care of this home and love it just the way that you did,” I said. In that moment tears started streaming down her face and mine, so we hugged for a while before the others walked in.
I had found the listing a month before very randomly online, and instantly knew that we would be making a life there. A few weeks later when we moved into our new (old) home; it was just as she had left it. Her personal items removed and the house immaculately cleaned, a few hard-to-remove traces of their life together remained. Tiny ceramic mice carefully placed inside gaps of imperfect doors, a painted cat waiting on the wall by the front door, so many garden trinkets. I once found a note while cleaning the top shelves in our hallway that read “Have a great day, I love you! ~ David.” He had left it there for her to find but I suppose she never did. Finding that note felt like I had something precious to her, finding a collection of recipes perfectly stuck to the kitchen cabinet doors felt the same. One of those recipes was “Tomato Pie.”
I’ve been wanting to share this tomato pie recipe with you for a while but it only felt right to wait until I could find local tomatoes at their peak ripeness. Even better as part of a partnership with Tillamook using their Farmstyle Thick Cut Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese, which I’m so happy to be able to purchase locally now. Try this store locator to find it near you! I was so excited to test it, taste it and now to present it to you. Making it felt nostalgic and wonderful, the kitchen is still mostly unchanged with its original creaky wood floors and baked in the oven that they left here for us. It’s not a complicated recipe, it contains only a few simple ingredients that you can enjoy slightly cooled or at room temperature on your front porch on a late summer evening. I imagine that’s what Ms Dixie and Mr David did when they lived here.
Cheddar is a very important part of any Southern tomato pie, and come to think of it so many other Southern foods including pimiento cheese and homemade cheese biscuits. For me, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese is the perfect choice because of the quality. It is aged for over 9 months and really delivers a wonderful sharpness that perfectly complements the tomatoes and herbs. The shreds are a generous size and I feel that this makes the pie cheesier, more toothsome and just a delight to eat.
A few notes:
Using a quality pre-made pie crust will save you some time. I used to be a person who never chose convenience over making everything from scratch, but lately there are many amazing products that help when time is short. (Back To School!)
Most classic tomato pie recipes, like this one, include mayonnaise, but you could absolutely use sour cream or even ricotta instead.
Roasting the tomatoes removes a lot of the moisture that might have seeped out of fresh tomatoes, causing the pie to become soggy. If you choose not to roast the tomatoes, drain them for at least 10 minutes on a paper towel lined cooling rack.
Try your best to avoid cutting into the pie immediately, let it sit until it gets closer to room temperature - This will make it very easy to slice into and serve.
Roasted Tomato Cheddar Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 6-8
1 8 -inch pre-baked pie crust
2lbs heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
4 strips bacon
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped herbs (basil, chives, oregano) plus extra to serve
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
Place tomato slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Work in batches if your oven is unable to accommodate all the tomatoes at once. Roast for 15 minutes until most juices have evaporated. Remove from oven, set aside, and lower heat to 350F (180C).
In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy and drain on a paper towel. Discard most of the fat from the skillet, add onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool.
Add chopped bacon, onion, cheese, mayonnaise, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to a medium bowl. Use a fork to gently combine. Spread one half of this mixture at the bottom of your pie crust, followed by a layer of roasted tomatoes. Repeat with final layer and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing, topping with fresh herbs when serving.
This sponsored post was written by The Daley Plate on behalf of Tillamook but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!