June 13, 2017
Ontario makes me think of corn and tomatoes in the peak of summer, and of pie in general, perhaps because my grandma in Ontario was such a skilled baker. We used to spend time at my great aunt’s cottage in the summer, and so summery things come to mind when I think of the province and its cottage country.
This pie is simpler than it sounds—made with a buttery biscuit crust, it’s loaded with tomatoes, corn and cheese, with a bit of garlicky mayo to keep it moist and amazing. I hadn’t made it in at least a decade, but when I made it again, snipping fresh basil and chives from the garden, using frozen Green Giant corn (from Ontario) because it’s not quite in season yet, a mix of red and yellow tomatoes from Paradise Hill Farms, and grating on a mixture of Ontario cheddar and some Sylvan Star Gouda from Red Deer, Alberta, it was just as amazing as I remembered. It tastes like summer, and would be perfect to take on a picnic, or bring along to a back yard barbecue. (With a Canada 150 Berry Cake for dessert, of course!)
Corn & Tomato Biscuit Pie
Feel free to play around with whatever fresh herbs you happen to have on hand, or in your garden. Thyme would be delicious in place of the basil.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed (or a few roasted garlic cloves)
4-6 (about 2 lb) Roma or other ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups corn, cut from the cob or frozen
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups grated aged cheddar
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a large bowl, blend the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend with a fork or pastry cutter (or rub with your fingers) until well blended, with pieces no bigger than a pea. Add the milk and stir by hand just until you have a soft dough.
Divide the dough in half (with one half just slightly larger than the other) and roll the larger piece on a lightly floured countertop to about an 11-inch round; transfer to a pie plate and gently fit it inside without stretching.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic. Roughly chop the tomatoes (I cut them in half, then each half in 6 or 8) and put them in a colander on a plate or in the sink; let drain, swishing the tomatoes around with your hand to loosen any seeds and release more liquid, for 10 minutes or so.
Arrange half of the tomatoes in the crust and sprinkle with half the corn, half the basil and chives, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and half the grated cheese. Repeat with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt and pepper. Pour the lemony mayonnaise overtop and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Roll out the other piece of dough into a 10-inch circle and fit it over the filling, folding the overhang under edge of bottom crust (or vice versa) and pinching/crimping roughly to seal—it doesn’t have to be perfect. Cut a couple vents in the top crust to help let some steam escape and if you like, brush crust with a bit of milk or cream.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pie is deep golden. Serve warm, or cool to room temperature. Serves 8.
With a record number of sunny days this summer, we’re packing a lot of picnics.
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