Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my favourite summer recipes of all time (yes, I realise it’s not really summer in Spain or Australia at present, but can’t a girl dream?) – tomato parmesan pie. I’m not sure how this recipe turned up as a family staple, but tangled up in the delicious combination of thyme, tomato, and parmesan are memories of carefree summer days spent frolicking on the farm and harvesting tomatoes from mum’s alarmingly bounteous vegetable garden. Enjoy, my friends, and when you do savour the first delicious, crumbly mouthful of this pie, know that it is the taste of my childhood, and that it’s frankly quite disturbing that you’re chowing down on it.
And now, without further ado, the recipe:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 125 grams unsalted butter, cubed
- 100 grams grated parmesan
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 25 grams grated parmesan, extra
- the leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
- 8-10 roma or egg tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Process the flour, butter, and parmesan until it begins to form crumbs.
- Add the egg, and process until just combined.
- Knead the pastry, then chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll it into a disk about 3mm thick. Place this on a tray, and prick the surface with a fork, leaving a 6cm border. Brush the pastry with olive oil, and chill for another 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Combine breadcrumbs, extra parmesan, thyme, and some pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle half this mixture over the fork-pricked part of the pastry.
- Arrange the tomatoes in concentric circles of overlapping slices (or however you like, really), leaving the 6cm border bare. Be generous with the tomato, especially if they’re particularly good ones! If you can find orange and/or yellow tomatoes as well, the end result is quite lovely.
- Sprinkle the remainder of the breadcrumb, parmesan, thyme, and pepper mix over the tomatoes.
- Fold in the pastry border, and brush with more olive oil.
- Bake at 220C for about 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 200C and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry on the bottom looks cooked through. You might want place another tray above it if it begins to brown too much.
- Enjoy hot or room temperature, with a big green salad and a glass of white wine (so as to shatter entirely the illusion of childhood).
Note: I realise this is really more of a tart than a pie, but the fact remains that we’ve always referred to it as “tomato parmesan pie” in my family, and never, ever, as “country parmesan and tomato tart”.