April 23, 2006
Zucchini Dry Pie

I'm sure someone else has made pies like this, but I haven't found them so until proven otherwise, I'm claiming naming rights. Meet the dry pie.

I call this a "dry" pie because there's no sauce, no eggs, no goop, none of the more liquid elements often associated with pie.

One could add eggs and cream to make a quiche out of this recipe, but I think part of its charm is in the fact it's light and flavorful with very little besides vegetables in it. The result is a pie that doesn't stay in wedge form so well, but that is very tasty.

The juice released by the tomatoes and jalapenos flavor the zucchini and the need for a bit of fat is fully satisfied by the butter in the crust and the cheese on top. You'd think the tomatoes would be too juicy for this pie, but that's why we keep it down to just two tomatoes.

If you want to make a dry pie, make sure you have ingredients that will release just a bit of moisture, and not ones that will soak the crust. Zucchini is a great choice, but you could add corn or beans or broccoli or bell peppers to this dish easily.

You may recognize the crust - I pinched it from my own Mexican black bean tart recipe.

Zucchini dry pie
Two zucchini, sliced very thin
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4" semi-rings
3 oz. shredded chihuahua cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into 32 small cubes and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
pinch of salt

Sift AP and cornmeal and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the bitter in and mix with your hands and/or a fork until the mix looks like a uniform mix of tiny crumbs or meal. You want to break the butter down, but not melt it too much.

Mix in the ice water well. You may need less water if the air is humid. I made this one on a very dry winter day.

Form the dough into a ball in your hands. Flour the worksurface and flatten the ball out into a disk. Roll the disk out into the appropriate shape for the pan you are using. You may need to fold the whole mess in again, rotate and reroll the dough.

Once it holds together well and is large enough, move the dough into the tart pan and press down to make sure it squares off at the sides. Patch any holes and trim any overhang.

Prick the bottom with a fork several times. If you wish, you may add a piece of parchment and some pie weights to keep bubbles from forming. Place the crust in the 400 F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If you have extra dough left over, make braids out of it and bake in the oven with the crust for chef's treat breadstick.

Toss the slices of zucchini with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. In a prepared crust, lay a casual, messy layer of zucchini, a layer of tomato, a layer of zucchini, a layer of tomato until you use up all the zucchini and tomato.

Top with jalapeno slices, then add the cheese over all. Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes or until top starts to brown. Cool for two minutes before slicing.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at April 23, 2006 8:34 PM Print-friendly version

I'd forgotten how much I like this crust. It does re-heat really well in the oven. (I've had it twice now).

I agree about how the jalapeno's infuse the other vegetables. They add an interesting (but not overpowering) addition.

Posted by the Redhead on April 25, 2006 at 10:24 PM
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