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Make this pie during the high tomato season and you just can’t lose; those big ripe local tomatoes will do all the work for you. After you slice and salt the tomatoes and roll out the dough, the rest is simple. (If you want to cheat, use a store bought pie shell instead of homemade dough. Just let it soften enough so you can ease it into the tart tin. By the way, feel free to substitute other fresh herbs for the ones I list here. Basil, mint, cilantro, dill, oregano, marjoram, chives, chervil, and tarragon all pair nicely with tomatoes.
1/2 recipe Basic Pie Pastry Dough (recipe follows)
Serves 6 to 8
Roll the dough into an 1/8-inch-thick round on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, cut off any excess dough from the edge, and prick the bottom lightly with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Turn up the oven to 400ºF. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the shell and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in one overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste to blend. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.
Basic Pie Pastry Dough: Mix 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon table salt in a large bowl. Add 12 tablespoons ! 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and use 2 knives or a pastry cutter to blend until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. (Alternatively, combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice to blend. Add the butter and process until blended, about 20 seconds, then transfer to a large bowl.) Make a well in the center of the mixture and add 4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water. Mix quickly with a fork to form a soft dough. Add another teaspoon of cold water if the dough appears to be too dry. Turn out onto a floured work surface and work gently into a rough ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (The pastry dough can be made up to a day in advance or kept frozen for up to a month.) Makes enough for two 9-inch tart shells or a double crust pie.
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