What is it about pie this summer? First there was PieLab, the incredible space designed by a team at Project M in Greensboro, Alabama, where folks from all over town can commiserate over a slice of Key Lime and a cup of coffee. Then, when I interviewed Good Foodie Evan Kleiman for Dwell, she mentioned she was embarking upon a Pie-a-Day project, baking it in the morning and taking it with her wherever she happened to go (I bet she’s got a nifty portable pie safe). Sure enough, a few weeks later, she’s made upwards of 18 pies. And out of pure coincidence, when I finally—after eight years in LA, shoot me—made it over to her restaurant Angeli Caffe for dinner Sunday, we got the last piece of Pie #16: Double Crust Apple Pie. They even threw in the vanilla gelato for free.
I am actually not the pie maker in our household; that honor is bestowed upon a man who not only makes excellent apple pies, but makes them with the appropriate Apple logo. But I do have a little something pie-like I like to make this time of year. It’s not sweet—I’ll take savory any day—but it does have a crust, fruit and many, many fans. And it’s perfect to make this week, as the heirlooms start to show their shiny dimpled cheeks at the farmers market.
6 tomatoes; any kind really, but I like using Japanese or heirlooms
1 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 cups mayonnaise
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Pie crust for two 12-inch crusts; homemade, with lard and butter is the best, but you can also use store-bought
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can make this recipe as two regular-sized pies but I find that people really like to have their own individual pies (they stay together better, plus they’re so darn cute). Divide the pie crust into 24 balls and roll them out so they’re the size of a small tortilla. Don’t worry if the edges are rough and messy. Drape and tuck these into two muffin tins to make two dozen mini pie crusts. Prick the bottoms three times with a fork, and put them in the oven until they’re golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan of water on high. When it’s boiling, drop the tomatoes in for 10 seconds, just long enough to split the skins. Set aside, and when cool enough, peel and very coarsely chop.
Divide the tomato mixture between the baked pie crusts, and top each with green onions and basil. Combine the mayonnaise and cheese and spread on top of each pie (it should be level with the top of the muffin tin). Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly to set. Run a knife around the outsides and gently lift out. Serve immediately, or the next morning, cold, for breakfast. Makes two dozen mini-pies or two regular pies.
Adapted from a beautiful cookbook we grew up cooking out of from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Hollyhocks and Radishes.