Monday, May 19, 2014

Mamma's Tomato Mini-Pies (Pictorial)

These pies are a result of my switching over to a much healthier lifestyle, ironically. I used to buy refrigerated pie dough for my pies and had a few boxes of them left. I had to find a way to get rid of them soon, before i switched over to a homemade crust and no more processed stuff from the grocers.
I call these stuffed, baked, savory goodies mini-pies, purely because I don't know what else to call them and also because they are made from Pie crust. The tomatoes I used for these are fresh beefsteak tomatoes. Its kind of important to prep your tomatoes before baking, if you don't want your pies to be soggy.
The stuffing can be really versatile. This recipe used a onion-chive-cream cheese topping on the tomatoes. But I have also used Basil Pesto and toasted Pine-nuts on top of the tomatoes, in the past and they were quite yummy too. Other ideas also include Pepperoni and Fresh Mozzarella, Spinach and Goat cheese and Mushrooms and Ground Beef sauteed with Ginger and Garlic. (Oh yeah! So many possibilities!)
These make amazing appetizers or a delicious brunch/breakfast item, as well. This recipe makes 6 mini pies.

So without much ado, here goes:

1 pk refrigerated pie crust (2 sheets)
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
3 tbsp finely chopped green onions
1 8-oz pk of Cream Cheese/ Neufchatel Cheese (softened)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
1 egg- for egg wash (make egg wash by beating lightly 1 tsp of water with one egg)
1 tbsp Nigella seeds (for sprinkling on top of egg wash)

1 cup or bowl that is slightly wider than the beefsteak tomato slices in circumference

Method:-Slice each beefsteak tomatoes into 3 thick slices (excluding the top-most and the bottom slices. make the top and bottom slices thin so that you will have 3 thick, uniform slices that sit flat.) Now, place the slices in single layer on paper towels, and sprinkle salt on top and bottom of each slice. Leave for 15 minutes on each side to drain maximum liquid out of them. Change paper towels if needed.
Bring the pie crust to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.

Mix together the chives, onions, cheese and cream cheese together adding a little salt and pepper to taste.Use a single beater of a hand mixer or use a fork. Using a stand mixer is not recommended.

Flour a rolling surface and gently spread out a pie crust sheet on it. Roll out gently with a floured rolling pin until smooth and rectangular, about 1/2 inch thick.

Repeat with the other sheet and make sure they are uniformly sized, though not necessary to be accurate.
On one sheet, place the 6 prepped tomato slices, uniformly spaced (at least 2 inches of space between each). Sprinkle ground pepper on top.

Divide and spoon the cream cheese mixture  on top of the tomato slices.

Now brush egg wash, all over the exposed parts of the loaded pie crust. Cover the first loaded pie crust sheet, with the other sheet of pie crust and press down gently so that it sticks to the bottom sheet of crust.

Now, carefully using the cup/bowl/glass cut around the tomato slices to get mini-pies that are slightly larger than the tomato slice.

 You may crimp the edges of the pie using a fork if they are threatening to come apart.

Carefully, lift each mini pie and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Cut a small vent on top of each pie, brush with egg wash, sprinkle a few nigella seeds and bake them at 425 degree Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops become a light golden brown and lightly crack.

Now, let them cool slightly as the filling can be hotter than the exterior.

Serve them as a snack/appetizer or as a yummy main course with a soup and salad on the side. Enjoy!

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