America’s Test Kitchen has the secret to keeping your tomato pie from getting soggy
America's Test Kitchen knows that while juiciness is the strength of a good tomato, it’s the enemy of tomato pie.
A source for testing recipes, equipment and ingredients since 1993, America's Test Kitchen has tested tomato pie recipe after tomato pie recipe, finding most yielded a soggy, doughy crust.
To eliminate moisture, they turned to an old chef's trick for removing water from vegetables: a liberal salting. After salting and draining tomato slices, America's Test Kitchen chefs then pressed them firmly with paper towels before layering them in the pie. They then cut large vents in the top crust for steam to escape. Cornstarch in the filling and a lowered oven heat also helped with texture.
A note on dough: You can use your own recipe or store-bought dough. If you're using the latter, bake the pie for 30 minutes after turning down the heat in step 4.
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Cooking time: 1¾ hours, plus 30 minutes draining and chilling and 3 hours cooling
2 (9-inch) pie dough rounds (see note)
2 pounds ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 4 large), cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 scallions, sliced thin
Arrange tomatoes on paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let drain 30 minutes, then press tomatoes with additional paper towels until very dry.
On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough round into a 12-inch circle (if using store-bought dough, you do not need to roll either crust). Transfer to 9-inch pie plate, letting excess hang over the edge. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll the second round into a 12-inch circle and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix mayonnaise, cornstarch, and 1 cup of cheese in a bowl until well combined. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the bottom of the dough-lined pie plate. Arrange a third of the tomatoes over cheese. Spread half of the mayonnaise mixture over tomatoes and sprinkle with half of the scallions. Layer with another third of the tomatoes, remaining mayonnaise mixture and remaining scallions, then top with remaining tomatoes.
Arrange top crust on the pie. Press crusts together, then trim, fold, and crimp edges. Cut four 2- by 1-inch oval vent holes in the top. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until crust is golden brown, about 55 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 3 hours. Serve at room temperature.
Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.
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