It is the height of tomato season and while there are few things better than a fresh, juicy, summer-ripe tomato, if you have a tomato garden, you also have way too many than you know what to do with before they go bad. You're putting them on everything, giving some to your neighbors, the mailman, anyone who will take them because the hot summer sun has made them grow and ripen faster than you can eat them. BUT I'LL TAKE IT. I love summer tomatoes. And while I love them in the simplest sense with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper, there are so many things you can do with tomatoes of course.
Tomato pie is a quintessential southern dish, like pimento cheese, fried chicken, or collard greens. But if you're not from the south, you may not have ever heard of tomato pies (I know I hadn't until I moved to the south). The first time I ever tried one I actually made one from scratch, pie crust included. I didn't know what to expect, but what I got was something so decadent, comforting, but sometime still fresh tasting and I was hooked.
I decided I wanted to simplify the tomato pie and make it accessible as an hors d'oeuvres, snack, or even part of a lunch plate. My version uses prepared pie crust or puff pastry and cuts out some of the extra steps of the original tomato pie I made that is probably a little more traditional. But what I got out of this recipe is something that is pretty simple to make but captures all of what makes tomato pie a classic.
These 2 bite wonders are packed with sweet tomatoes, sharp cheese, creamy mayo, and a fresh zip from basil. I use mini muffin tins to keep them contained which also makes them the perfect size for a party appetizer or snack. The best part is these are actually served best room temperature or cold so it makes them an even more attractive party food because you don't have to time out cooking them to when your guests will arrive.
If you're looking for a way to enjoy your summer tomatoes (or any tomatoes), give these little babies a try. I think you'll be hooked on tomato pies just like me!
Mini Tomato Pies Makes 12-14 mini pies Prep: 20 minutes | Cook time: 15-20 minutes | Idle time: 30 minutes
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
1 store bought pie crust OR 1 sheet of puff pastry thawed
2 medium tomatoes (or ~3/4lb. of tomatoes of any size)
1.5 C. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
2 TB mayo
1/4 C. basil leaves cut chiffonade
Special equipment needed: mini muffin tins
Cut the tomatoes into 1/4"-1/3" thick slices and place the slices on a paper towel lined baking sheet or cutting board. Sprinkle the slices with some kosher salt then let sit for 15 minutes. This draws out some of the water from the tomatoes so they don't make the pies too soggy. After 15 minutes, blot them with a clean paper towel, flip them and repeat the salting process, waiting 15 minutes, and blot again.
While your tomatoes sit with the salt, you can cut your pie dough (or puff pastry). Roll out the dough to make it a little thinner and so it is slightly bigger than the original size - big enough to get 12-14 circles cut. Use a 3" round biscuit cutter (or a water glass) to cut 12-14 circles.
Press each dough circle into the cups of the mini muffin tin.
In a bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 C. of the shredded cheddar cheese, mayo, and a pinch of salt and pepper until it is well combined.
When the tomatoes are done salting, cut each slice into either quarters or halves, depending on the size of the tomato. You will need them to fit into the mini muffin tins without scrunching them too much, so use that as your guide for how big to cut them.
Add about 1/2 tsp. of the cheese mixture to the bottom of each pie cup, followed by a piece of tomato, another 1/2 tsp. of cheese mixture, another tomato slice, then finally top with a few shreds of the remaining cheddar cheese that was not mixed with the mayo. Repeat until all of the cups are filled.
Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is starting to caramelize and the dough is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes then remove them to a wire rack or parchment paper to cool completely.
Top the cooled pies with a sprinkle of the fresh basil.
Serve up on a platter to your favorite party guests. Best served room temperature or cold. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
I tried these with both pie crust and puff pastry. They both turned out great with similar cooking times and I honestly don't know which one I like best. No matter which version you make, you should be able to get 12 3" circles cut from a single sheet of dough.
I haven't tried making these with yellow cheddar. I assume it would work just fine, they will just look a little different.