Monday, July 4, 2011

Savory Summer Pie

I have been waiting for the tomatoes to be red and juicy, and the basil to be strong and hearty in the garden to post about one of my favorite dishes.  It's the first week of July, I think the time has come! Savory Summer Pie. It's like quiche-meets-tomato pie.  It starts with sauteeing onions, garlic and red bell peppers, adding eggs, cream, Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and seasonings, pouring it into a pie crust, topping it with sliced tomatoes and then baking it.  A Savory Summertime Pie.

I found this recipe in a Southern Living Magazine over a decade ago.  I clipped the recipe, because it looked so yummy and had ingredients that I love! And I have been making it every summer since...and hardly altering it because it is so delicious as is.

It's a great dish that becomes a complete meal when you serve it with a green salad or some fresh fruit.

I like to take it as a main dish for a meal to friends who have new babies or are in need of a meal.    My friends, Angela and Ray, had their first child 12 years ago and I brought this to them.  Ray joked that it was worth having the baby to get this Savory Pie.  A couple of years later, when they had their second son, they requested a repeat of this meal.  I was shocked that they remembered what I had brought 2 years before, and was, of course, honored to bring them a repeat meal for baby #2.

Fast forward a decade.  This spring, my friend, Alyson, had a baby and when I asked her what meal she wanted me to bring to her family, she said she just wanted a batch of homemade granola.  I've never had that requested as a meal! While I agree that Granola is one of my favorite foods to come out of my oven, it really isn't dinner!  Then after thinking about it, I decided that I would indeed make her a batch of granola, and take a quart of vanilla yogurt and some fruit for parfaits along with it.  But I would also make this summer pie for a main dish and serve breakfast for dinner.  (I love breakfast for dinner, as breakfast foods are my favorite.  However, in my home, the only way I can woo my family to want breakfast for dinner is to include breakfast meat, especially bacon, on the menu.)  Alyson is not a fan of meat, but her husband is, so I took him a pound of bacon to satisfy his manly-meat desire.

This Savory Pie is a simple recipe, the only catch is the timing of the baking.  I have so thoughtfully created a demonstration of what NOT to do regarding this.  (See exhibit A below)
exhibit A
There is the ever-present challenge with pies:  getting the filling fully baked without burning the crust! So, here's the story.  I made this recipe a couple of months ago and took photos along the way so that when the tomatoes were right, I would have the photos ready for this post.  Then this past week, as I started writing the post, I began craving the Savory Pie and had to make it again!

So on Thursday night, I was making the pie and was concerned that the crust was getting too done and the filling seemed to be almost done!  We were in a rush to get to a meeting and had to hurry.  So, I took it out a few minutes early hoping that during the 5 minutes of "resting time", it would jell and be fine.  When I began to slice the pie, it was obvious that the filling was not done. So we proceeded to eat the done parts and save the rest for when we could re-heat it.

Moral of the story- cook until the filling doesn't giggle when gently shaken, even if the crust is looking overdone.  I tried to "foil tent" 1/2 way through the baking.  I have tried this many times and I have never had good luck with it.  It either falls off as I am attempting to get it covered, or I burn my hands or it falls off as I slide the rack back into the oven and it burns anyway!  I am thinking it might work better if I cover the crust with foil before baking and then remove at the end to brown.  (Easier to remove the foil than add the foil in a hot oven, I'm guessing.)

Do any of you have a good remedy for keeping the pie crust from over-baking?  Any tricks to share with us? Please let us know!
par-baked crust

Savory Summer Pie

1 pie crust- refrigerated bought or homemade
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ purple onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 large eggs
1 cup half & half
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 plum tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices

chopped vegetables

Fit piecrust into a deep-dish tart pan; prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven; set aside.

Meanwhile, sauté bell pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet 5 minutes or until tender; then stir in basil.  

Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in sautéed vegetables and cheeses.  Pour into crust; top with sliced tomato. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until set.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

the filling


Thoughts about the Pie Crust - you can make one from scratch for this, but I never do (especially with my aforementioned burning's not worth the risk).  If you have a Trader Joe's where you are, you need to try their frozen pie crusts. They are fabulous! My friend Amy told me about them recently.  Up until then,  I had used the Pillsbury (red skinny box) refrigerated pie crust which are also a great product.

[Speaking of Pies, the next post is my favorite pie- Key Lime Pie! ]


  1. Julie! I have these handy dandy little pie crust shield thingy bobs that I found that are perfect for not burning the edges of the crust. Google it and you will find them. They come in all sizes!

  2. Woohoo! Glad to see the Summer Savory Pie finally made it to the blog. Yes, one of our favorites, and you have an amazing memory!! I don't think we got the pie for baby #3 so can we get it now..8 years later?! Miss you!!

  3. I LOVE savory summer mom makes it every summer too : ) I'm looking forward to your key lime pie post!

  4. Julie-- I made this last night for company, and they LOVED it! I did, too. :) I miss you!! But I love "keeping up" with you on your blog!

  5. I LOVE this recipe. My mom saved that same Southern Living and I used it a long time ago too. This post makes me want to try it again. Thanks for the reminder!!

  6. Julie,
    This looks so good and I have an abundance of fresh basil right now. Perfect!!
    Would you say that this is quiche? What makes something a pie vs. a quiche?
    Just a thought! I am making this very soon.
    PS I put tin foil tents on my crusts!
    Melissa S.

  7. Melissa,
    I think it is a quiche....just the American name for quiche, and with the addition of the tomatoes on top kind of makes it a quiche-meets-tomato pie. Let me know what you think!