Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Savory Pie for Pie Day

Today is pie day, but I decided that a savory pie sounded much better than a sweet one. It's been pretty darned hot lately, so we've been having ice cream for dessert. Sure, pie goes with ice cream, but with this heat, we've also been eating less. A slice of pie would be overkill for dessert, with or without that ice cream.

But a savory pie is something I can eat cold for lunch. Perfect.

I decided to use zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and cheese. Why? Well ... they go together. And it's what I had.

I thought about adding artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, or sugar snap peas, but decided against it. Why? Well, when you make an apple pie, you usually don't add a bunch of other things. I thought three vegetables plus cheese was plenty.

For the wine in the pie crust, I used a Flipflop Wine sauvignon blanc. You can choose your favorite white wine, but I'd suggest staying away from dessert wines. For the cheese, I used a provolone-like cheese.

Savory Tomato and Zucchini Pie

For the pie crust:
6 ounces (by weight) all purpose flour
Generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 to 1/2 ounces white wine

For the filling:
1 large tomato
2 small zucchini
1 red spring onion (about 2-inch diameter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup shredded cheese
Several generous grinds black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put the flour, salt, and sugar in your food processor. Pulse a few times. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the processor. Pulse until the butter is chopped into pieces about the size of a pea.

With the food processor running, add 1 ounce of the wine, then stop the processor and pulse until the dough begins to come together in clumps. If it doesn't come together, add a bit more wine.

Empty the contents onto your work surface and gather the dough into a mass. Flatten it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Dice the tomatoes (peel them if you like) mix them with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and put them in a strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid.

Slice the zucchini into rounds and slice the onion into thin slices.

When the dough has chilled, roll it out to fit your pie plate (or this would be great in a tart pan as well) leave the edges ragged for the moment. I used a 9" pie plate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Put about half of the cheese in the bottom of the pie, and top with about half of the onions. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the drained tomatoes on top, then sprinkle the thyme on top.

Put the rest of the zucchini on top (you'll see these, so arrange them in a pretty pattern), then scatter the remaining onion on top. Season with a bit of salt, then top with the remaining cheese. Grind some pepper on top, then cut up the butter and scatter it on top.

Now, fold the edges of the pie dough underneath itself, and crimp as desired. If the pie is really full, crimp it up on the rim of the plate. If you don't have as much filling, crimp the dough inside the plate.

Bake the pie at 375 degrees until the crust is browned the cheese is melted and browned in spots, and the vegetables are cooked through - about 35 minutes.

Let the pie pan cool on a rack. You can serve this warm, chilled, or at room temperature.