After what seems like a lifetime waiting for tomatoes to come in, I'm finally able to harvest some of the heirlooms we planted. These juicier, meatier and long-awaited treasures are picked right off the vine, carried straight into the kitchen and promptly devoured.
Don't wait around to eat these. Heirlooms need to be eaten within a week for the best taste.
One of my favorite ways to use heirloom tomatoes is in one of my favorite summer harvest dishes – Tomato & Goat Cheese Pie.
Heirloom varieties are better in general for making this dish because of their added density. They tend to be meatier and contain fewer seeds. This makes them ideal for a baked dish because they will hold together better when cooked, unlike some hothouse varieties that tend to be more mushy and have more seeds.
Part of the reason this dish is so fantastic is the crust. Flaky, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth piecrust is a must.
This dish is also the perfect way to incorporate other local foods. Eggs, cheeses and fresh basil are all items that you can grab at a farmer's market or local grower.
And don't worry about leftovers. There won't be any. So you better make two!
Twinkle's Tomato & Goat Cheese Pie
Makes 2 pies
2-10" tart pans - greased and floured
Twinkle's Perfect Pie Crust
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup of cold, unsalted butter
1 tbs. sea salt
¼ cup of water
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
For the filling:
8 ripe small heirloom tomatoes, sliced about ¼ inch thick
6 eggs + 3 egg whites – room temp
1 ½ cups goat cheese – room temp
1 tbs. cracked black pepper
2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 small sweet yellow onion, finely diced
A little olive oil for brushing the tops of the tomatoes
Place your flour and salt into a mixer and gently turn on low to incorporate. Be careful not to overmix or overknead or your crust will be tough.
While this mixes for a minute or so, put your water and vinegar into a glass or measuring cup and add 3-4 ice cubes. You want the water to be chilled.
Chop your butter into small pieces and begin to add to your mixer.
Let the butter incorporate into the flour slowly, adding a little at a time.
Turn the speed up a notch to a medium low (1 or 2.)
Once the flour/butter combo begins to look and feel a little like cornmeal, slowly start adding the liquid. If the dough does not begin to come together, you can add a few drops at a time until it just forms.
Pull out the dough and knead together gently a few times on a floured surface.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin a little thinner than ¼ of an inch. Press into your tart pans and place into the refrigerator until the filling is ready.
Sauté the onions and garlic until they turn clear. Let cool.
Mix your eggs and whisk until blended. Add in the softened goat cheese and whisk well.
Add in your spices, garlic and onions including all of the basil, except for about 1 tbs., and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the chilled pie crusts and jiggle a little to let it settle.
Begin layering your tomato slices around into the filling, brushing a little of the egg mixture onto the tops of the tomatoes.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes on 365 degrees F until the crust and the pie begins to lightly brown and the center is cooked.
Cool completely on racks before slicing.
Brush tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle the remaining basil onto the tops of the pies.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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