I recently went to my favorite you-pick farm and came home with 40+ pounds of tomatoes, 6 pounds of blackberries, and 2 pounds of these beauts:
Oh man, are these eggplants amazing. I’ve grown up eating and loving the big, purple globe eggplants. But then I tried these. Oh, man. I’ve been missing out! These babies are so creamy and delicious, they make globes pale in comparison.
And about those 43 pounds of tomatoes? About 2 of them were these yummy little bursts of sunshine.
Then there’s all the veg from my CSA and the chard from my garden.
What’s left to do? Bake ’em all into a pie. And yes, there is a whole stick of butter in it. The presence of black pepper in the crust sets this apart from a sweet fruit pie assertively.
This recipe was a bit of work but the end result was beautiful. This would be a stunner for a brunch. Or, if you’re livin’ the single life this week like me, well, it’s great for taking to work for lunch, too.
I canned about 30 pounds of those tomatoes, and I have more plans this week for the remaining eggplant. What are you doing with your summer bounty?
Summer Vegetable Pie with a Black-Pepper Crust
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty; serves 4-6. My version cuts a few steps and varies the veggies based on what’s in season but I don’t think this compromises the result. That being said, this still takes a considerable amount of time, a considerable amount of dishes, and a considerable amount of oven — maybe you don’t want to make this on a 95-degree weekday. This definitely goes faster if you’re lucky enough to have a double oven, otherwise consider roasting your veggies a day ahead of time. I can’t wait to adapt this to the other three seasons!
For the black-pepper crust:
- 6 oz whole wheat flour
- 2 oz/half stick cold butter
- 2-3 oz ice water
- salt and pepper
- Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into a mixing bowl. Add the flour, a sprinkle of salt and a heavy dash of pepper — about 20 twists of the grinder — and mix together with a fork.
- Add in half the water and give a quick stir with the fork. Add just enough of the remaining water and stir until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a ball, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, prepare the vegetables for the filling.
For the pie filling:
- 1 lb eggplant (I love the little Sicilians)
- 1 medium squash/zucchini
- 1 bell pepper (I used red)
- 1 bunch chard
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 2 oz/the other half stick of butter
- 4 oz ricotta
- 4 oz goat cheese log
- 4 oz cream
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- a bit of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dice the eggplant, squash, and pepper into 1″ pieces. Scatter on the baking sheet into a single layer, drizzle/spray with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Bake for 45 minutes, tossing halfway through. You can do this a day ahead of time if you’d like.
- Preheat a pan on the stove and add half of the other half-stick of butter over medium-low heat. Slice the onion into half moons and separate the layers. Add to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized.
- In yet another pan (I wasn’t kidding about the amount of dishes), melt the last of the butter over medium-low heat. Chop the chard roughly (stems included) and add to the pan, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
- dried beans or pie weights
- Once veggies are roasted (or in your second oven), lower temp to 350 degrees.
- After the dough has chilled, remove and roll into a 14″ circle to fill a deep-dish pie plate. I like to roll mine between two pieces of plastic wrap to minimize sticking. Cover with a piece of foil or parchment (do NOT forget this step like I may or may not have done) and add beans/weights. Blind bake for 30 minutes.
- Mix together the ricotta, cream, eggs, and salt & pepper in a bowl and crumble in goat cheese. Slice the tomatoes in half.
- Let pie crust cool briefly and remove the beans. Layer in the onions, then the chard, then the roasted veggies. Pour on the cheese mixture and make sure it seeps into the nooks and crannies. Scatter the tomatoes on top.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, until custard is set and crust is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy that taste of summer!