Sunday, July 15, 2012

You Asked for It

I have the nicest readers here.  Thank you for your sympathetic comments on my last blog post.  Your kindness made the bad news a little easier to bear.  Group hug!  Blogging is the best.

Speaking of blogging, Raquelita, my dear, this post is for you!  It’s time to talk about that tomato-corn pie.  “Pie” is a bit of a misnomer—this is a quiche, with an interesting twist on the crust.  The crust is actually my favorite part of this whole dish.  Most quiches use a traditional pie crust made with butter, but this recipe calls for a crust made with olive oil.  It’s a stir-and-mix number in which the dry ingredients are stirred together with equal parts cold water and olive oil to form a dough.  The dough is then gathered into a ball, wrapped in plastic, and chilled in the fridge for a while.  Then you roll it out as you would any crust, tuck it into a pie pan, and parbake it.  You cool the crust for a few minutes, and then you fill it with a hearty mixture of corn, roasted tomatoes, cheese, and a custard to bind everything together.  Into the oven it goes and ta-da!  Tomato-corn pie.

Tomato-Corn Pie Redux

And in the finished pie, the crust bakes into a cracker-like texture.  It’s such a great contrast to the creaminess of the filling!  The crust is seasoned with black pepper too, giving it a nice spicy edge.  It’s delightful. 

I first made this recipe last summer.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  The flavors were good, the crust excellent (like I said), but the main problem was that it was so damn watery!  I told Ammie about how I kept extending the baking time to cook off the wateriness of the filling, and she responded, “Yeah, tomatoes give off a ton of water.”

Ah ha!  A clue!  Thank you, Ammie!  To nip that problem in the bud tomato, I stole an idea from this recipe for a roasted tomato tart, and I gave the tomatoes a short roast in the oven—15 minutes at 350 degrees, and another 15 minutes with the oven turned off.  It worked pretty well, but in the future, I’d probably go for a full 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I know it might seem crazy to make a summer dish that involves so much oven time when you live in Texas, but that time spent puttering in the kitchen (with the AC on, of course) is so soothing that I crave it.  Life lately has been anything but soothing, and I think we take our comfort where we can find it.  For me, that means finding the energy to put on my metaphorical apron and get to work at the counter, mixing dough, chopping vegetables, and making something with my own two hands.  Fewer things are more satisfying in this life than being able to say, “I made that!”

Floured Countertop

Happy cooking, friends. 

Tomato-Corn Pie Redux

Adapted from EatingWell

Serves 4-6

I’m writing the recipe below as I followed it, but here are two notes for future reference (which I’ve already discussed above):

1)  For the tomatoes, it’s probably better to roast them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

2)  Don’t be tempted to underbake this pie.  It tends to be more watery than other quiches (perhaps because of the corn and tomatoes and because it doesn’t use straight cream for the custard), and it benefits from a longer bake time.  I think 50 minutes should be fine, but I judge “doneness” by the appearance of the center of the pie: if it looks set and not watery, it’s probably done.

For the crust:

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup cold water

For the filling:

2 large tomatoes

Olive oil

Dried coriander

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or jack

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1)  For the crust, mix together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the middle, add the oil and water, and mix to form a dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and tuck it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

2)  Roast the tomatoes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice the tomatoes in half, then slice each half into four pieces.  Place in a roasting dish, sprinkle with some olive oil, dried coriander, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off, leave the tomatoes in there, and roast for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside for now.

3)  Crank the oven up to 400 degrees F.  Flour a countertop and roll the dough into a large circle, about 12 inches in diameter.  Pick up the dough and tuck it into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing down and up the sides.  Trim off any overhanging dough and use it to repair any holes or complete the sides.  Line the dough with a piece of foil or parchment paper that can be lifted out easily, then fill the pie pan with some dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil or paper and beans.  Let the crust cool for at least 10 minutes.

4)  Make the custard: mix together the eggs, milk, and cream.

5)  To fill the pie, sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust.  Next layer half the tomatoes.  Spread the corn in another layer and top with the thyme and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Next sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the corn, followed by the remaining tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Pour the custard (egg mixture) into the crust on top of all the layers.

6)  Bake the pie for 40-50 minutes or until the center does not look wet and an inserted knife comes out clean.  It should be nicely browned, too.  Let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes, then slice and serve.  I think this quiche is terrific served warm or at room temperature.  When I take the leftovers to work, I don’t bother to heat it up—I just sit down at my desk and eat.


Shannon said...

YUM. love tomato corn pie, and i bet roasting the tomatoes elevates it even more! can't wait to try that out this year :)

Raquelita said...

Never have I wished for my husband to love tomatoes more! Maybe I will try this with tomatoes only on one half to appease us both.

Rosiecat said...

Aw, thanks, Shannon! Tomatoes and corn are such a great flavor combination, right?

Hey, that's a great idea, Raquelita! And you'll have no problem seeing the tomato half, since some of the tomatoes sit on top of the pie. Happy baking to you, my dear.