Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cheesy Creole Tomato Pie

On our recent trip to New Orleans, my parents and I ate at some of the best restaurants we've ever been to. Sure, we went to the classic tourist places: Commander's Palace, Brennan's, and Cafe du Monde (I MUST make beignets soon. Like, you have no idea - if I learn how to make them, it may be a health hazard). But Easter was my dad's birthday, and my mom and I had decided to make a reservation before we even went. That reservation just so happened to be at Emeril's flagship restaurant. I was so excited to have dinner there, and it did not disappoint. They don't have a vegetarian entree, so when I told them I didn't eat meat, they just made up a dish for me. The meal was so delicious, on our last night in New Orleans we decided to go to NOLA, one of Emeril's other restaurants there. We eat a lot of good food living in New York City, but the flavors were something I had never tasted before.
I decided I had to have one of the cookbooks. When we asked our waiter which one they sold there, he came out with a stack of about 20 books. Let's just say we spent quite a while sitting at our little table, trying to decide which one to bring home. Well, we finally decided on one that had plenty of vegetarian options, and that had things I could bake! This week, my mom and I decided to try out some recipes.
We have tried several (five, actually - not one of which hasn't been delicious!), but this was the only one that could fall in to a "baked goods" section. This, my friends, is a cheesy creole tomato pie. A savory crust piled high with layers of cheese, tomatoes, onions, herbs, and deliciousness. It was super rich; do not serve this as a main dish with nothing else! We had it with a few different vegetables, and it was great. We did adapt it to make it gluten-free (really slight adjustments), but feel free to use regular bread crumbs and flour and leave out the xanthan gum if you don't need it gluten-free, and found that the crust could definitely use less salt. If we've noticed one thing from cooking Emeril's food, it's that you need to watch the salt! We also were not able to roll out the crust, it was too hard - so we patted it into the pan. Aaaaand, to give credit where it's due, I actually had no part in making the crust - my mom did it before I got home. Good job mommy!
We will definitely be making this pie again soon, and while it shouldn't be an everyday thing (take a look at the ingredients list and try to guess the amount of fat in this - I'm too scared to even try), it is worth the time it takes to make. Enjoy! <3

Cheesy Creole Tomato Pie
(slightly adapted from Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse)

1 recipe Savory Pie Crust dough (recipe follows)
1 egg, separated
2 pounds ripe Creole tomatoes or other regional variety, such as heirlooms or beefsteak
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup unseasoned dry gluten-free breadcrumbs
3/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onions
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to fit a 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fit the dough into the pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to a day.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and line it with aluminum foil. Fill the shell with ceramic pie weights or dried beans, and bake for 13 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove the foil and weights, return the shell to the oven, and bake for 3 minutes.
Remove the pie crust from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Lightly beat the egg white with a fork. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the entire surface of the warm pie crust with the egg white (you will probably not use all the white). Then allow the pie shell to cool and the white to set. It will look glazed.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, discarding the stem and root ends. Season the tomatoes with the salt and pepper.
Combine the mayonnaise with the egg yolk in a small bowl, and stir until smooth.
Sprinkle one third of the breadcrumbs over the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Layer half of the sliced tomatoes over the breadcrumbs in a circular pattern, and top with half of the sliced onions. Drizzle in half of the mayonnaise mixture, and top with half of the herbs, half of the Fontina, half of the mozzarella, and half of the remaining breadcrumbs. Make a second layer with the remaining tomato slices, onions, mayonnaise mixture, Fontina, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake the pie in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until it is bubbly hot and golden brown. Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 hours before serving. This pie is at its best at room temperature.
6 to 8 servings

Savory Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. While the machine is running, gradually drizzle in the water, processing until the dough comes together to form a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to a month; thaw in the refrigerator before using.)
One 9- or 10-inch pie shell


Erica said...

Dear Sophia,
I am another teen baking blogger! (15 at the moment) I love to see other teens in the food blogging world -- and I love your blog immensely. I would love to talk to you sometime and maybe we can share recipes! It is always so exciting to discover other young bakers like myself! Keep up the beautiful blog! -- Erica

Mia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mia said...

Hey! I don't want to sound like I'm coping Erica- It's a complete (and slightly freaky) coincidence that we both had the same thing to say to you at the same time! I'm 13, and just like you (and Erica) I blog about food and baking, and I'm vegetarian just like you are. It's so exciting to find other teen food bloggers, because so often I feel like a kid in an adult's world. Anywhoo, I would love to join in talking and recip sharing if that was Ok. And lovely recipe by the way! Mia :) (oh and sorry, I accidentally deleted my previous comment)

Sophia said...

Haha hi Mia! What is your email? Erica and I have been talking and are making the same recipe this week, it would be fun if you joined us! I can start a group email with the 3 of us :)