Monday, September 9, 2013

Craving Summer and BBT Pie. (Bacon, Basil, and Tomato Pie, That Is.)

September is a bittersweet month. While we're thickly back into school and after-school activity mode, I'm still desperately clinging to summer. I'm not ready for rushed dinners and early bedtimes. I want to lounge with the kids, reading books and playing ping-pong, not cracking my taskmaster whip to memorize multiplication tables or--worse--to solve for x. I watch leaves fall and litter the pool, but my heart's not ready to surrender and cover it. 

And I'm certainly not ready to give up tomatoes.

Sadly, though, the time is here. A few vines barely cling to life in the garden. Most of the tomato plants were pulled up long ago, victim to too much rain and too little sun. (It was a very odd South Carolina summer.) I spent a ridiculous amount of time pruning the few survivors, removing diseased leaves and knowing that I should just end their misery and allow them an honorable death for their service. (Can you tell I'm reading Game of Thrones?) 

Still, the few pitiful vines continue to produce a few pitiful tomatoes, and I'm taking full advantage of the fruit before it disappears completely. 

Hoping to embrace the last wisps of summer, I decided we needed a dinner that would makes us feel that we're still in the thick of summer, when produce is abundant and days are lazy.

In South Carolina, the quintessential summer dinner is Tomato Pie.

Maybe it's not only a South Carolina staple, but I'd never heard of tomato pie until we crossed the Mason-Dixon line. I know it never graced our dinner table in Munster, Indiana. (I wouldn't have eaten it, anyway. My family will attest that I was the world's pickiest eater.)

Over the years, my friends Dana and Janet shared their recipes for tomato pie with me. Let me assure you, when you mention on Facebook that you're about to make a tomato pie, your friends will begin salivating, asking when they should arrive for dinner. 

I know. I've been on the other side. 

Admittedly, I'm not a brave cook. I'm typically a recipe follower, too fearful to deviate from perfectly proportioned ingredients. But somehow, I became a chef renegade when I pulled out my friends' tomato pie recipes.

I added. I deleted. I substituted. I feared disaster.

But you know what?

It was yummy.

Before we get to the recipe, I feel you're owed full disclosure.

I used a pre-made pie crust. 

I know, I know...I've lost all credibility with you now. And I know my friend Janet will tell me that I shouldn't be intimidated by pie crusts. 

But it was a school night, and suddenly it was 6 p.m. and I hadn't even thought about starting dinner. So, rather than forgo that lovely taste of summer, I punted and used pre-made.

I'm sorry.

Janet uses this recipe for her pie crust. I'm going to use it when I make an apple pie this afternoon. Really. I am.

Regardless of whether you use a homemade or a pre-packaged pie crust, I urge you to snatch up the last summer tomatoes from your garden or the farmers' market and make this tomato pie tonight.

It will make you happy. I promise.

BBT Pie (Bacon, Basil, Tomato Pie)


4 large tomatoes, or 8 medium, cut into 1/4-inch slices. (I used a variety of organic heirloom tomatoes to make the flavor more complex.)
8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked
2 shallots, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra for tomato prep
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped finely
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a bit extra to sprinkle on top
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie crust in ungreased 9-inch pie pan, fold edges under, and pinch or crimp crust with fingers or fork. 

2. Bake crust for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven.
3. While oven preheats and as crust pre-bakes, slice tomatoes and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt to draw water out of fruit, and let tomatoes rest approximately 20 minutes. (If you skip this step, your tomato pie can be quite soupy.) Pat dry.

4. In a large skillet, brown bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from pan.

5. Add shallots to bacon grease in pan and cook until slightly brown, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove shallots and drain grease.

6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated Parmesan on bottom of pie crust.

7. Layer tomatoes on top of Parmesan until crust is filled to approximately 1/4-inch of top of pan.

8. Stir together mayonnaise, bacon, basil, shallots, chives, and remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese until well-blended.

9. Spread mixture evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Grate a bit of Parmesan and sprinkle on top.

10. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes, removing when cheese begins to brown.

11. Cool and serve with a frosty glass of Pinot Grigio.

Of course, you can make the tomato pie without bacon, but honestly, once you taste it, you'll understand why the bacon belongs nestled next to the tomatoes. It's salty and savory and defines the flavor of summer. Take a bite, chase it with the chilly wine...divine.

So quick--grab those last tomatoes. I promise this tomato pie will make you feel like it's hammock and beach season--at least mentally.

What is the summer food that you miss most in the winter?





  1. YUM! I love Dana's and I know I'd love your pie, too!

    1. I love Dana's pie--it's so good! I think hers was the very first tomato pie I ever ate. Yum.

  2. Replies
    1. I have to admit--it was pretty darn delicious!

  3. Oh my this looks delicious! I have some tomatoes that I need to get rid of soon! Yumm!

  4. Like you, I usually follow recipes to a T so I admire anyone who is able to pull out their inner chef renegade. :) Once I get my new oven I'm definitely going to try out this recipe.

  5. Sounds awesome! And great way to use up the last of those tomatoes. Your writing is hilarious! The summer food I miss most in the winter is watermelon. And yellow squash. And corn. Oh wait, was I only supposed to pick one? It's too hard.

  6. The bacon part looks good, but I have to say, I'm not a big tomato fan. Good for you for trying something new though, even with a premade crust. I don't think less of you. :) As for summer, I agree -- I'm still trying to hang onto those "lazy days". Though I do love the crisp fall air!

  7. Well I know what I'm doing with the bowl of tomatoes my hubby just picked from the garden. This looks delicious - thanks for sharing! We enjoy tomatoes at every meal these days - plain, with a little mozzarella and basil, as bruschetta, salsa, and now this!

  8. I love tomato pie!!! I have a similar recipe, but I'm loving your addition of the bacon. Yummy!

  9. I have never hid of a tomato pie! But it looks delicious! I am to scared to deviate from recipes too, but when I do, I am pleasantly surprised!

  10. This looks + sounds delish! I LOVE fresh garden tomatoes. Maybe I can find some this weekend and bake a BBT pie on Sunday.

  11. Looks delicious! I love all the different things you can do with fresh garden tomatoes!

  12. Oh my!!! I've never had tomato pie but... it's a matter of time now!! It looks soooo deeeelicious :p Thank You for sharing!

  13. This looks delicious!!!! I'd never heard of this and I hope to try it one day! Usually, we fry Green Tomatoes and they are heaven! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  14. I've never had tomato pie before! It looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  15. Interesting! I live in South Carolina, and I've never heard of tomato pie. Our tomato and peppers were the only plants in our garden that survived this summer. We are still harvesting tomatoes. Thanks for the push to try something new from the fruit in our garden. Happy stretching out summer!

  16. looks amazing! Our summer was extremely hot and dry so our tomatoes stayed orange, and sweet. Thank you for this recipe, I had never heard of Tomato pie, and this looks delicious.

  17. This looks so delicious!! I'm pinning the recipe. I can't wait to try it. Thanks!!!

  18. We've had such a hot summer this year that I'm ready for cooler weather. Of course, school isn't on our radar this year, so that helps. I love tomatoes and I love bacon, so this sounds awesome!

  19. I have never heard of Tomato Pie, but this looks absolutely fabulous! I love the combo of garden tomatoes with bacon and Parmesan. I'll keep this in mind for next year's bounty (a well-fed bunny got most of our tomatoes this year).

  20. You have truly made my mouth water! This looks amazing, pinning it!

  21. This looks SO good! I have never heard of tomato pie, but I'm ready to try it now. Thanks for such a great recipe :)

  22. Mmm looks so delicious, at home just my husband love the tomatoes but with this recipe i want to try it. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us looks so yummyyy!

  23. September is the Monday of the year. ;) I'm a huge summer fan so I'm always sad when autumn approaches.
    I've never heard of a tomato pie before! Unfortunately I'll have to make the crust myself because it's not even sold in our country - we're "forced" to make almost everything from scratch. :D

  24. I'm long over due for lunch, and this recipe hasn't helped! Oh my, it looks so good. I've never thought of making a tomato pie - smart idea!

  25. Sadly I am not a tomato lover but I am going to send my Momma who loves loves tomatoes this recipe. I think she will really enjoy this. I myself and going to miss fresh corn, cucumbers and squash.

  26. This sounds wonderful (sans the pie crust)! And is easily Gluten Free - I'm Paleo, without the dairy, but I bet it'd still be good without the cheese. May have to try it sometime :-)

  27. Never had tomato pie before, but you better believe I'm dying to try it now! I pinned the recipe for the near future (before all my locally grown tomatoes disappear).

  28. That looks delicious & makes me wish we'd planted some tomatoes this summer. The one time I don't attempt growing tomatoes is the year we have a gorgeous summer here in the UK. :)

  29. Sounds delicious and your tomatoes look super yummy. I'm going to miss sweet watermelon which is always a summer time fav around here.

  30. Wow...that looks good. My Mom loves tomato pie but I do not recall ever seeing her eat any that looked as remotely good as yours. I love all of the different tomatoes that you grow. I've never really sat down and eaten different ones to see how they differ in taste.

  31. This looks delicious! I love tomatoes but have never had tomato pie before. Pinning to make later. Thanks so much for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop, look forward to seeing what you share tomorrow! - Nancy HomeAcre Hop

  32. It's an interesting recipe and it has my favorites, tomatoes, bacon and Parmesan! Thanks for the share! I will probably use a pre-made crust so no harm done. :)

  33. Oh yum! That pie looks absolutely delicious!

    " I'm not a brave cook. I'm typically a recipe follower, too fearful to deviate from perfectly proportioned ingredients." - I'm right there with you on that one! The only dish I experiment with is pasta, and I must say, I have had a lot of success with all the variations I've tried ;)

  34. Finally made this--it was the best bite of the year. Sadly, I wasn't able to wash down with a frosty pinot grigio, but plan to soon..Chicago tomatoes are just starting to pop!

  35. I am not a typically a tomato fan, but this looks great! I think my mom would love it... will have to share your recipe.