Friday, June 10, 2005

Laurie Colwin's Tomato-Corn Pie

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this tomato-corn pie is one of the best summer foods, ever. Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast has left me a little mixed up when it comes to seasonal eating, since here it's already time for cherries, decent tomatoes and sweet corn. At first I resisted making this pie, thinking that it was too early in the season, but then I changed my mind, thinking first of how delicious it is and then thinking it was the perfect dish to serve the vegetarian coming for Friday supper.

It's described briefly in Laurie Colwin's genius book, More Home Cooking, where she mentions having lifted the recipe from James Beard. Whatever its origins, you should make this pie as close to immediately as possible.

Here, I'll even give you the recipe.

Laurie Colwin’s Tomato and Corn Pie

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus 2 tablespoons melted
¾ cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ¾ lbs. tomatoes, peeled (or not—it doesn’t really matter) and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 ½ cups corn (from about 3 ears) coarsely pureed in a food processor
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
7 ounces coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Whisk together flour, baking powder and ¾ teaspoon salt in a bowl, then blend in the 6 tablespoons cold butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out 1 piece between sheets of plastic wrap into a 12 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into a 9-inch glass pie plate, patting with your fingers to fit (there will be just enough dough to line plate without an overlap.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Arrange half of the tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, half of the basil, half of the chives and salt and pepper. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with one cup of the cheese, pour the lemon mayonnaise over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12 inch round in the same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top of crust and brush crust with 2 teaspoons melted butter.
Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30-35 minutes, then cool on a rack.

Eat! Yum! Nice light dinner with green salad. Also good the next day, but there is never any leftover.

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