Lessons Learned from Tomato Pie


I have this deep conviction that if one is good …. two will be better.

One cookie tastes great, but two tastes awesome. One cup of sugar in tea is nice, but two cups is true to a Southerner’s roots. One glass of wine is tasty, but two are satisfying.

With today’s weather being gray, rainy, and gloomy (any day that I can wear sweatpants and a hoodie to the grocery store is a perfect day in my book), I decided to get ingredients required for a tomato pie. I’ve seen my Aunt make tomato pies many times before and I knew that some tweaking would be required if I wanted to eat it. Remember, I have a dairy allergy so cheese and butter made from cow’s milk are out of the question.

I learned a few lessons today.

Ingredients used:

  • 2 Pillsbury pie crusts, room temperature
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and sliced thick
  • 1 cup (or so) Tofutti cream cheese
  • 2 cups (or so) shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onion, green part only
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks soybean margarine, melted
  • 2 sleeves butter-flavored cracker (such as Town House), crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

I purchased a wedge of Manchego cheese, which is made with sheep’s milk. I used my handy-dandy grater to shred it. I did really good today grating the cheese by hand, I did not (repeat: DID NOT) cut my fingers. I’m so proud.

You know that if-one-is-good-two-will-be-better idea I had? Insert the pie crusts here.

My previous experience with said pie crusts has been disappointing. The crust was thin and did not hold up well to the filling. My solution: double the crust and it’ll be thick (sturdy?) enough to hold the hearty filling. Afterall, this was going to be a deep-dish pie …. at least three inches thick.

In the deep dish pie plate, I arranged one pie crust and pushed it into the bottom and around the sides. Using a fork, I stabbed the dough until it had lots of holes (to prevent bubbles). Then, I added the second piece of dough and repeated the fork-stabbing process. In a 400-degree preheated oven, I baked the pie shell for 10 minutes until the crust was a very light golden brown. Finally, I set it aside to cool a bit.

Lesson Learned #1: two pie crusts stacked on each other is too much for one pie

In a microwave-safe bowl, I melted two sticks of butter. Meanwhile, in a ziploc bag, I pounded two sleeves of crackers into smithereens. The cracker crumbs were VERY fine. I poured the very fine cracker crumbs into the bowl of butter to combine.

Lesson Learned #2: two sleeves of crackers and two sticks of butter is too much for one pie

I arranged the bottom layer of tomatoes in the pie shell, making sure to fill all crevices with small pieces of tomato. I spooned half of the cream cheese mixture over the layer of tomatoes. Next, I added a second layer of tomatoes and topped it with the remaining cream cheese  and half of the shredded Manchego cheese.

Lesson Learned #3: two layers of thick-sliced tomatoes is too much for one pie

At this point, if the tomatoes had eyes, they’d be able to peek over the edge of the pie plate. I added the remaining Manchego cheese to the cracker mixture, along with the green onions, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, I poured the entire cracker mixture on top of the layered tomatoes. I baked the pie for 30 minutes, until the topping was a lovely golden color. It looked amazing.  

Lesson Learned #4: two pie crusts + two sleeves of crackers + two sticks of butter + two layers of tomatoes = one soggy, under-cooked pie

I’m such a failure. Not only were the tomatoes raw (under-cooked would be an understatement), but the cheese was barely melted and the pie crust was raw.

Lesson Learned #5: if one is good, two isn’t always better


On a brighter note, the pinto beans and cornbread I prepared for supper tonight were dee-lish. Husband was very happy. So was I. Our bellies are full, it’s raining outside, and the World Series is on. Life is good.

But I’m still pissed about that damn tomato pie. I will try this again ……. with one pie crust, one sleeve of crackers, one stick of butter, and one layer of tomatoes. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Until then,

enter the current giveaway for a $25 gift card to Initial Outfitters!!!!!



  1. One lesson learned; one pearl of wisdom shared; one reader grateful.

  2. Nicole, don’t beat yourself up over the pie… I give you an A for the effort…it looked pretty too…next time it will be perfect…

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