Alternative titles considered, but ultimately rejected, for this post:
1) Roasted Vegetable Tart
2) Pile of Healthy Stuff, Surrounded by Cheese and Butter-Ridden Crust
3) The Pie That Shall Not Be Named
We’re left with “August Vegetable Pie,” which in all honesty doesn’t really sound so hot, but here were are. It’s August after all, and we’ve finally got some fantastic eggplant and tomatoes, and although the zucchini is heading on its way out, our kitchen table was overwhelmed with a pile of those three (lazy centerpiece?) - so that’s what went into the pie.
I’m not quite sure whether to call this a pie or a tart, but I suppose it doesn’t matter so much. It requires a single batch of your standard pie/tart dough. Any all-purpose and especially any baking cookbook will undoubtedly have a recipe for it, if you don’t have a favorite already. If you’re feeling fancy, Google (or even better, use Food Blog Search) for “Pate Brisee.” Lazy? Check out one of these recipes. I usually use something similar, all butter, with an egg, nice and flaky and easy.
The inspiration for this came from a tart my mom used to make that consisted of a pie crust, a layer of mustard, tomatoes, basil and cheese. That just wasn’t going to plow through our pile of veggies though.
The zucchini and eggplant got sliced, tossed with oil/salt/pepper, and roasted in the oven (at 350) on a rack on a cookie sheet until they were soft and starting to brown. The tomatoes got the same treatment, but after they had been lightly salted and pressed in paper towels. A lot of work, yes, but have you had a vegetable tart that was overrun with liquid before? Sogged out crust and watery filling? Yeah, me too. Those suck.
So all the vegetables get cooked ahead and layered into the pie crust. As extra water-insurance, I tried baking the crust for about 10-15 minutes before putting the veggies in, with a layer of grated parmesan sprinked in. I would have pre baked it anyway, but the cheese seemed like a good idea as well. It didn’t work out so well – normally when blind (pre) baking the shell, we’d put some foil in it, and fill it with old beans to keep the crust in place. Well, I couldn’t do that with the cheese in there, and just to prove a point, the crust completely collapsed. Not sure how I’d approach it next time, but pulling it out a little early, smushing the dough back up the walls and letting it finish the pre-bake worked out all right.
After it’s baked, the veggies get layered in. I didn’t want to clobber it with garlic, which is my usual M.O., but we had some pesto left over, so a thin layer of that ended up in the middle, and it worked well.
First, the layer by layer photos and then an outline of the overall plan.. I do believe just about any vegetable would be great, so go for it.
- Make pie crust, refrigerate at least 1 hour, maybe overnight (let warm up for 15 minutes if you do that)
- Roll out crust, get into pie dish and bake with or without cheese and/or weights (you’re on your own here) for 10-15 minutes until it starts to firm up and get a little golden
- While that’s baking, slice and prep veggies.
- While pie crust is cooling, roast veggies.
- Layer everything in. This one was as follows:
1) Parmesan (baked in)
4) Zucchini, sprinkled with a little more parm
5) Tomato, little more parm
6) Big pile of shredded basil
7) Melting cheese – fontina.
Back into the oven until is bubbly and you can no longer withstand the urge to burn your tongue on the cheesy, stewy tomatoes.
Molly (quickly becoming master of the well timed one liner) decides to make a statement between bites of this very meal:
“I’m done with veggies.” She says, with a little nod of her head to confirm it.
“Just candy from now on.”
And continues eating her
vegetable candy pie.