Tomato Pie Variant: A Technical Success, an Actual Failure

Yesterday it came to me that the thing to do with the last summer tomatoes that are sitting on my counter was to make a kind of Last Hurrah tomato pie, to do something really special with them. Remembering how spectacular tomato pie with Liuzzi ricotta is, I acquired some ricotta. I also had fresh figs on hand, which isn’t par for the course at all, and when I was riding the bus home I thought, “Ok, obviously, what you want to do is take these things and put them together. There is no reason to not take that ricotta, whip it with some honey, and make a gorgeous single-crust fig and tomato pie.”

So though I was utterly wiped come five p.m. yesterday,  I did this. I actually made a lattice crust pie, because I had just enough dough to do so, but never you mind that. I assembled this pie with love and patience, skinning the tomatoes, slicing the figs perfectly, whipping the cheese with locally-made honey, the whole nine yards. I baked the bottom crust first — beautiful — and I layered on the tomatoes and figs — gorgeous — and then I assembled the lattice crust (not as awful to do as I’d feared). I baked the pie and drizzled a little more honey on the top to jazz up the presentation a little. It looked quite nice — not beautiful, but impressive, for an average home cook. And you know what?

No one liked it.

Half of the pie is leftover. The plain, cooked-in-salted-water broccoli I made was a bigger hit than the pie. It was a lackluster meal, to be generous about it. And I am sad about it. I wasted 3/4 of a pound of perfect ricotta, four perfect figs, and  two perfect tomatoes on this product. I will be the only one eating the leftovers. I just know the last slice of it will wind up in the trash because even I won’t be able to eat it all myself.

I don’t know what went wrong. I had thought it would be a pie version of the spectacular goat-cheese-and-honey-on-biscuits thing we all ate so happily over the summer. But it wasn’t.  Maybe it needed some red onion to sharpen it a little (it was kind of bland). Maybe I should have whipped some goat cheese into the ricotta and honey.  Maybe it’s just that no one else in the family likes figs. It wasn’t that it was bad, mind you; it just was not interesting to eat, at all. Unfortunately, it’s not something I’m going to be able to work on improving, at least not right now, because the ingredients necessary are coming to the end of their season.

I think I’d better throw myself in the direction of autumn cooking. I’ve clearly had it with summer cooking.



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